Tokyo Paralympics opens on Tuesday
Written by tokyoclub on August 24, 2021
The Tokyo Paralympics kicks off on Tuesday, amid concerns over safety brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tokyo will become the first city in the world to host a Summer Paralympics for the second time. The last time the Japanese capital staged the Games was in 1964.
The Paralympics was supposed to take place last year, but was postponed by one year due to the pandemic.
A record 4,400 athletes will participate from 161 countries and territories, as well as from a refugee athletes’ team. During the 13-day Games, the athletes are scheduled to take part in 539 events in 22 sports.
A major challenge facing the organizers is how to ensure the safety of athletes. Some of the athletes are at risk of developing serious symptoms if they are infected with the coronavirus, due to their disabilities or underlying health conditions.
Another challenge is how to deepen social understanding for people with disabilities through the Paralympics. At focus is whether the Games will be able to embody the Paralympic ideal of realizing an inclusive society, when the events will largely be held without spectators. There are special programs to allow schoolchildren to watch selected events at the venues, but many people are expressing reservations about the plan.
International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons says despite the challenges, the Tokyo Games can have a huge impact on the World.
“The biggest goal of these Games is to change societies, change the ways that society perceives persons with disability, not only in Tokyo, not only in Japan, but around the World,” he said.