The 2020 Paralympic Games Begin in Tokyo

Date:

The Paralympics are being held without the audience allowed. The Paralympics have returned back to Japan for the 1st time in 57 years, making Tokyo, the Japanese capital the first city ever to host the Paralympics twice.

The Paralympics are about athletic powers. The origin of the word is derived from “parallel” – an event happening alongside the Olympics.

The Opening Ceremony

The Paralympics began on Tuesday in the same empty National Stadium, and during the same Covid-19 pandemic as the opening and closing ceremonies of the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics. 

The opening ceremony of the 16th Paralympic Games began by paying homage to the resilience displayed by the para-athletes and gave the message to move forward amidst the unrelenting destruction being caused by the pandemic. 

Andrew Parsons, the President of International Paralympic Committee and Emperor of Japan Naruhito were both welcomed into the stadium.

Then the Japanese flag was carried to the stage by six Japanese including Kaori Icho, 4-times Olympic freestyle wrestling champion and Takumi Astani, a rescue worker.

It was a circus-like opening with clowns, acrobats, fireworks and vibrant music atop the stadium marking the beginning of the long parade of athletes.

The opening ceremony featured the national flags of the 162 delegations represented by the flag bearers. 

The Indian Delegation

This edition of the games will feature an unprecedented 4,403 athletes. The previous record for most number of athletes was 4,328 which was set at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

Of the total 4,403 athletes in the Tokyo games, 2,550 are male athletes and 1,853 are female athletes competing for the top honours.

India is being represented by its delegation which is the largest ever delegation comprising of 54 athletes in competitions spread over 12 days.

Rio Paralympics gold medallist Thangavelu Mariyappan was to be India’s flag bearer in the Opening ceremony.

But he was quarantined after he came into close contact with a Covid-19 positive person. Therefore, Tek Chand was given the honour of becoming the flag bearer at the opening ceremony. 

Apart from Mariyappan, five other people in Indian contingent were also quarantined until further notice, as a person near their seats on the flight to Tokyo tested positive for Covid-19. 

However, they all will be taking part in their respective events as they all tested negative. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games will take be held from August 24 to September 5 and will feature 539 events across 22 sports.

A total of 54 para-athletes from India will be featuring in the Paralympic Games competing across nine sports disciplines. 

Games amidst increasing cases

The Paralympic organizers are under pressure from increasing new cases in the capital. Even though about 40% of the people in Japan are fully vaccinated, the daily new cases in Tokyo have increased by four to five times ever since the Olympics began on July 23 earlier.

With the Paralympics ending on September 5, Tokyo is under a state of emergency until September 12. 

The Paralympics are being held without the audience allowed, although the organizers are planning to allow some school children to attend, going against the advice of much of the medical fraternity.

Ayush Gala
Ayush Gala
Apart from being a percussionist and a cricket enthusiast, it's the unfolding tumultuous events of Geopolitics and International Relations that give me the adrenaline rush I crave for. And what better than sharing this adrenaline rush about these and various other topics with the people as well! And thus started my content writing journey, somewhat casually, but over time it's really become something I love doing! "Easy reading is damn hard writing" Well, thats always been my endeavour while writing, so that the readers not just consume, but absorb the content and derive utility from it!

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