Wellington, July 14: The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has confirmed the largest ever delegation of 211 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics.

New Zealand is set to compete in 22 sports, including the new Olympic disciplines of karate and surfing. With 101 female athletes, it will also become New Zealand's largest-ever number of female Olympians competing in an  edition of the Olympic Games, according to NZOC, reports Xinhua.  Tokyo Olympics 2020: Check Out Full List of Countries Participating at Summer Games

The 17-year-old swimmer Erika Fairweather is the youngest Olympian in the New Zealand delegation. At 51-years-old, equestrian jumping athlete Bruce Goodin is the oldest team member.

In all, 118 athletes will make their Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games while the other 93 have previous Olympic experience. Dame Valerie Adams will make history by becoming only the second New Zealand female to attend five Olympic Games.

NZOC Chef de Mission Rob Waddell and the advance team arrived in Tokyo late last week and began setting up the New Zealand Team area in the Olympic Village.

As to the Kiwi athletes from a chilly winter of the Southern Hemisphere, the two crucial challenges they face are heat and COVID-19 protocols in Japan during this special summer.

According to Waddell, with temperatures and humidity extremely high at this time of year in Japan, heat preparation has been a major focus for the New Zealand Team.

"We've had athletes training in heat chambers and holding heat camps in hot and humid locations. We've also got specialist ice vests, slushy machines and heat protocols in place."

Waddell said the New Zealand team had also prepared for extensive COVID-19 protocols.

"The competition will look the same at Tokyo 2020, but off the field of play, things will be different. There will be social distancing, daily COVID-19 testing, temperature checks on entry to village and plexiglass partitions in the dining hall and gyms," he said.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 14, 2021 06:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).