The 2020 Paralympic Games have opened with a powerful ceremony in Tokyo.
The ceremony was full of colour, celebration and based around a concept of ‘We Have Wings’. The organisers said this was intended to raise awareness of the courage of Paralympians.
No spectators where at the ceremony, as will be the case throughout the Games, but it was a still an amazing.
In total 714 cast members performed in the ceremony, with 166 of those having impairments. In Japan, it is hoped the Games will act as a catalyst for change in societal attitudes towards disability in the country.
The show mixed colour and strong messages with two reflective moments reminding those watching of events in the world.
Firstly, the Paralympic flag was handed over to eight key workers who supported the people of Japan in their day-to-day lives during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Secondly, the Afghanistan flag was carried in by a Games volunteer, as an act of solidarity after Afghanistan’s two Paralympic athletes were forced to withdraw from the Games because of the situation in their country.
New Zealand was missing from the parade after the decision earlier in the week to avoid the opening ceremony.
In all, about 4,400 athletes from 162 national Paralympic committees will compete in 539 medal events across 22 sports in Tokyo.
Tokyo now becomes the first city to hold the summer Paralympics twice, having first done so in 1964.