Tokyo Paralympics opens with fireworks and protests - in pictures

Games will run until September 5 with shadow of coronavirus hanging over country

Just like the Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics too opened with fireworks and protests on Tuesday.

The 2020 Paralympics began in the capital as Japan struggled with a major Covid-19 outbreak.

Organisers had said last week that the Paralympics will be held under “very difficult” circumstances as Japan's health system felt the strain of the pandemic. The situation was grim as the Olympic Games ended on August 8 and has only worsened since.

That was evident in the protests outside the Olympic Stadium as locals expressed their anger over the prevailing conditions.

Inside the stadium, Japan's Emperor Naruhito declared the event open before a largely empty stadium. It was a big moment for over 4,400 athletes from 162 teams after the disappointment of the postponement and concerns about a possible cancellation.

Among the competitors are Germany's world record-setting long-jumper Markus Rehm and Japan's wheelchair tennis legend Shingo Kunieda.

China are expected to continue their Paralympic gold medal dominance. Hosts Japan will be hoping their record 254-strong team can repeat the country's Olympic gold rush.

This year's Paralympics will feature 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo appearing for the first time.

Japan reported more than 25,000 daily cases on three days last week, up from less than 15,000 when the Olympics concluded earlier this month.

The Paralympics will run until September 5 and organisers have said they plan to implement the same protocols as the ones used during the Olympics.

Almost all spectators will be barred from venues. However, a school programme to bring children to some events is still going ahead.

Updated: August 24th 2021, 3:03 PM
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