Tokyo Paralympics get underway amid Covid cases in rise

A 'different' Games but Paralympians still hope to shine
The Agitos symbol takes its place on the water in Tokyo before the start of the Games. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: The Tokyo Paralympics get underway on Tuesday, with coronavirus infections rising in Japan and all parties acknowledging that there is still a challenge ahead.

The games are delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic and with spectators unable to attend apart from a small number of schoolchildren, these will be a different Games to any previous edition.

But the organisers of Tokyo Paralympics want top-level competition, as well as they want the Games to play a big part in making Japanese society more inclusive.

Tokyo is the first city to host two Paralympic Games. The city previously hosted 1964 Paralympics when 375 athletes from 21 nations took part in nine sports.

This time, around 4,400 Paralympians from 162 national Paralympic committees will compete in 539 medal events across 22 sports.

Athletes and organizers will be eager to put the turbulent events of the past 18 months behind them and show the world what they can do as Paralympians on the biggest stage of all.

The official opening ceremony with the opening ceremony at 12:00 BST on Tuesday and competition begins on Wednesday.

The original ‘one year to go’ festivities in 2019 featured successful mass participation events and showed a hunger among the Japanese public to get behind the Games.

But the coronavirus pandemic ripped up all, with a year’s delay of the games to start and then a host of protocols affecting all concerned, as with the Olympics.

Athletes around the world faced challenges to their training for the games and competition programmes, with some required to shield for medical reasons.

A state of emergency remains in place in the Japan’s capital, with Covid-19 case numbers continuing to rise in the city and surrounds.

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