The Paralympic games that was delayed for a year due to COVID-19 was declared open.
After a year’s delay Japanese Para athletes Yui Kamiji, Shunsuke Uchida and Karin Morisaki turn and wave after lighting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Flame in the Olympic cauldron and Japan’s Emperor Naruhito officially declared Tokyo 2020 open this morning. The four-hour opening ceremony filled with performances and music on a smaller scale kicked off the start of the Paralympic today. This goes to show that humans can persevere in the face of hardships and come together to celebrating and friendly competition.
“The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years.” Said IPC
The 2020 Summer Paralympic games were delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes and viewers all over the world were euphoric to see its return in 2021. The Games will take place from August 24, 2021, to September 5, 2021.
For the 4,403 athletes, this is the moment they had been waiting for, as the world tries to get back on its feet from a pandemic that pressed pause across the world. Now they represent their countries, wearing their pride on their sleeves.
Canada’s Judoka Priscilla of the women’s Judo team was named the opening ceremonies flag-bearer. The Canadian team is made up of 128 athletes competing in 18 sports events.
“Today, as the Paralympic Games begin in Japan, I join the world in a moment of celebration as we settle in to watch Canada’s best Paralympians compete for the gold and show the world what it truly means to be Canadian.
“Despite more than a year of incredible obstacles, Canada’s Paralympians have exemplified perseverance and dedication. These athletes overcame the disappointment of the games being postponed due to COVID-19 and did their part by staying home to keep people safe and healthy, while continuing to train and push through the challenges.
“This diverse team of Paralympians is proof that if you work hard, anything is possible. And today, they get the chance to chase their dreams, own the podium, and represent our country on the world stage.
“To our athletes: thank you for showing the world what Canada is made of.
“Good luck, Team Canada!” Said, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
With the Japanese capital under a state of emergency, many residents are opposed to holding the world sporting event at all. Outside the stadium, hundreds of protesters with signs that say “Lives over Olympics” and chanting “Stop the Olympics” could be heard during the moment of silence for those who have died from COVID-19. The Olympics is taking place this year despite the fear of COVID-19 to bring people together. It allows us to change the conversation from COVID-19 to something a little more positive.
“Today is a moment of hope”, IOC President Thomas Bach said. “Yes, it is very different from what all of us had imagined. But let us cherish this moment because finally, we are all here together.”
Image source IOC