Tokyo Olympics Kicks Off With Glittering Opening Ceremony

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With the emergence of COVID-19, many athletes had to train for the showpiece event in isolation and this was the highlight during the Opening Ceremony as performers showed how they have been connected by their hope and shared passion, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

After much debate on the fate of the Tokyo Olympics thanks to the COVID-19 situation, the Games were finally declared open on Friday as fireworks kickstarted the Opening Ceremony here at the Japan National Stadium.

With the emergence of COVID-19, many athletes had to train for the showpiece event in isolation and this was the highlight during the Opening Ceremony as performers showed how they have been connected by their hope and shared passion.

After the fireworks and lighting show, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach was welcomed on the stage. The IOC had decided that only six officials will be allowed per contingent.

During the ceremony, parading athletes observed physical distancing. At the beginning of the ceremony, the Japanese flag entered the Olympic Stadium and after that, the light show began.

This year’s Olympics will feature a record 33 sports comprising 339 events. The initial video which kicked off the ceremony showed Tokyo’s elation at winning the bid to host the Games and then the stadium went into darkness as the 2020 event had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have been questions raised in Japan over the hosting of the Olympics even when the host nation has been witnessing a surge in Covid-19 infections and total Games-related cases have risen to 106. Even though the Opening Ceremony kicked off, protestors took to the streets to voice their unhappiness of the Games going ahead in Tokyo.

The torch relay had recently concluded its journey through Tokyo having spent most of the 15-day final leg of its nationwide tour off roads and away from the public.

UAE in Tokyo

The event was attended by Shehab Ahmed Al Faheem, UAE Ambassador to Japan, and Azza bint Suleiman, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Olympic Committee for Administrative and Financial Affairs.

The UAE is participating for the tenth time in the Olympics. Its first participation was in the Los Angeles Games.

The country’s delegation comprises five athletes competing in four sports, which are shooting, swimming, athletics and judo.

Saif bin Futais, the shooter of UAE National Team will compete in the Skeet Shooting on 25th and 26th July while Victor Skertove will compete in under 73-kilogramme judo competition on 26th July. Swimmer Youssef Al Matrooshi will compete in the 100-metre freestyle competition the following day while Ivan Romanko will participate in the over 100-kilogramme judo competition on 30th July, before runner Mohamed Hassan El Noubi competes in the 100-metre race on 31st July.

The Emirati delegation in Tokyo visited several clinics in the Olympic Village, including a physiotherapy room, and explored its medical equipment and the village’s various preparations and first aid services. They also visited the village’s training halls and shooting range.

Games Organising Committee said the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be unlike any other because they will take place in the face of the coronavirus pandemic – an obstacle far beyond anything we have ever faced. Concept of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony is “United by Emotion”.

It said the UAE “will aspire to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year, and also to bring a sense of hope for the future.”

“We hope it will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another.” (ANI/WAM)

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