Tokyo Olympics 2021: More women than men in the Great Britain team for the first time ever at a summer Games

There will be more women than men in the Great Britain team in Tokyo for the first time at a summer Olympics.

Laura Muir has opted to focus solely on the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Laura Muir has opted to focus solely on the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Team GB has announced that it is entering its largest ever delegation for a Games on foreign soil, with 376 athletes set to compete across 26 sports.

Of the 376, 201 are female (53.5 per cent) and 175 male (46.5 per cent).

Team GB said this is down to, “impressive qualification performances from British female athletes across sports and an increased number of female events at the Games”.

Scottish canoe sprint athlete Katie Reid joins the team for Tokyo, competing in the C1 200m event.

“I am delighted we will be taking more women than men to a summer Olympic Games,” said Mark England, Team GB’s chef de mission.

“It is a first for Team GB in its 125-year history – 2021 is truly the year of the female Olympian.”

There are 42 Scottish athletes in the British team, seven from Northern Ireland, 18 from Wales and 309 from England.

The squad was finalised with the three late additions, including Scottish canoeist Katie Reid.

Jemma Reekie will be part of the Great Britain team in Tokyo. Picture: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Reid will compete in the C1 200m sprint event as it makes its Olympic debut on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.

It has also emerged that Scottish track star Laura Muir will focus on the 1500m, opening up a vacancy in the 800m which will be filled by Alex Bell.

Bell will make her Olympic debut having run the 800m qualifying standard with a lifetime best performance of 1:58.52 at the end of May.

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The third late addition to the GB team is table tennis player Paul Drinkhall who will compete at his third Olympic Games after he was awarded a spot due to his ranking place and the withdrawal through injury of table tennis legend Vladimir Samsonov of Belarus.

Of the 376 British athletes selected there are 122 returning Olympians of which 51 are returning Olympic medallists.

Of those returning Olympic medallists, four leading female Olympians travel to Tokyo looking to make history. No British woman has ever won gold medals at three separate Olympics yet cyclist Laura Kenny, taekwondo player Jade Jones, rower Helen Glover and equestrian star Charlotte Dujardin all have the chance to achieve that feat after successes in London and Rio.

Glover will become the first British rower to compete at an Olympics after becoming a mum, while Kenny – a mother herself since Rio – is already Team GB’s most successful female Olympic athlete of all-time with four gold medals.

Sailor Hannah Mills, who is competing at her third Olympic Games, is also on the verge of making history in Tokyo. A Tokyo medal for Mills would make her the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time.

Team GB’s youngest Olympian in Tokyo will be skateboarder Sky Brown, whilst the oldest is equestrian athlete Carl Hester, competing aged 54. Hester will also be competing at his sixth Olympic Games. Brown was just one month old when Jason Kenny won his first Olympic title at Beijing 2008 but the skateboarding sensation will become Team GB’s youngest-ever summer Olympian when she competes in the women’s park event, having only turned 13 on July 12.

Kenny will head to Tokyo looking to break a tie with Sir Chris Hoy for most Olympic gold medals won by a Briton, after winning six over the previous three Games.

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