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By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will send its largest ever team for an overseas Olympics to the Tokyo Games, the British Olympic Association (BOA) said on Thursday, with more female than male athletes for the first time.
Despite Tokyo organisers announcing on Thursday that the Games will take place mostly without fans due to the continuing COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo, the BOA said 376 athletes were bound for Japan with a further 22 reserves.
It is second only to the 541 athletes selected for the London Olympics in 2012.
Of the athletes chosen, 201 are female and 175 male with 51 former medallists involved.
"After five years of hard work our team for Tokyo 2020 is now complete," the British team's Chef de Mission Mark England said in a statement.
"We have a strong squad of athletes ready to do their country proud and it's great to welcome our largest travelling British Olympic team ever.
"I am also delighted we will be taking more women than men to a summer Olympic Games. It is a first for the BOA in its 125-year history -- 2021 is truly the year of the female Olympian."
Of the returning Olympic medallists, four leading female Olympians travel to Tokyo looking to make history.
Track cyclist Laura Kenny will be seeking to add to her British female record four golds and become the first British woman to win gold at three separate Olympics.
Taekwondo player Jade Jones, rower Helen Glover and equestrian star Charlotte Dujardin all have the chance to win gold at three separate Games.
Britain's youngest team member is skateboarder Sky Brown who turns 13 just before the Games while the oldest is 54-year-old Carl Hester who will compete in the equestrian.
Britain finished second in the medals table in terms of golds won in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, behind only the U.S.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)