Paralympic Games opening ceremony kicks off in Tokyo

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The delayed 16th Summer Paralympics kicked off its opening ceremony in the National Stadium in Tokyo on Tuesday. 

President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons told athletes they were the “best of humanity”. 

“I cannot believe we are finally here. Many doubted this day would happen,” said Parsons in his Opening Ceremony speech.

“Many thought it impossible. But thanks to the efforts of many, the most transformative sport event on Earth is about to begin.” 

”We want to change the entire world.”

The opening ceremony was based around the theme of ‘We Have Wings’ to raise awareness of the courage of Paralympians who are trying to spread their wings “no matter which way the wind blows”. 

The countries were led out by six athletes of the Paralympic Refugee Team. 

Volunteers and athletes carried cherry blossom-inspired torches to ignite the first-ever hydrogen-fuelled cauldron at the Games. 

The flame was left roaring as the ceremony was brought to a close.

Meanwhile, protestors outside the stadium jostled with police as the ceremony took place. 

Tokyo will remain in a state of emergency until September 12 as the city records surging cases of COVID-19. 

Over the next 13 days, there will be 1,617 medals awarded across 539 events in 22 sports. 

Around 1,500 from 162 nations are taking part, with the IPC estimating that 4.25 billion people will tune in during the Games. 

At least 39 Greek athletes are competing across eight different sports in the Games – with Greeks over-representing in the swimming pool. 

Source: CNN, Greek Herald

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