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Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 opens amid pandemic

Japan's Emperor Naruhito declares Games open at the National Stadium in Tokyo

Prime News, International and National Sport & Games, Olympics, Tokyo, July 24:- The biggest sporting event in the world 32nd Summer Olympic Games were officially declared open by the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito with a glittering opening ceremony in Tokyo on Friday (July 23) amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach seen during the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday.

The mega quadrennial event was held at the newly-built National Stadium in the Japanese capital. “United by Emotion” was the theme of the night. 

Naomi Osaka became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron. Inspired by the sun, the Tokyo Olympic cauldron is designed to be better for the planet. It is the first powered by hydrogen.

The event opened with a countdown video dating back to the time when Tokyo won the bid to host the Games in 2013 before persevering through a year of postponement due to the pandemic.

Near the start, a moment of silence was taken for those who had died during the pandemic, as well as for members of the Israeli Olympic team who were murdered during the Munich Games in 1972.

The usual razzmatazz and razzle-dazzle and pyrotechnic caused by laser and high-intensity sound were replaced by the clever interplay of light, sound, and shadows with softer music. The acts reflecting Japanese culture and heritage were streamlined and simple. A white pyramid depicting Mount Fuji remained in the background.

There was no cheering, screaming, and clapping by the huge crowd that usually fills the stadium for ceremonies of this magnitude and stature because the fans are banned from the entire Olympics.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the Japanese flag entered the Olympic Stadium and after that, the light show began. A giant rotating Earth made of 1,824 drones appeared above Olympic Stadium.

The parade was led by Greece, home of the Ancient Olympic Games, while the host nation Japan entered the stadium last.

Led by six-time world champion and London Olympic bronze medalist boxer M C Mary Kom and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, the Indian contingent made a subdued entry, as the 21st group in the march past, with less than 30 representing the full contingent of over 200. Men were wearing a ‘bandhgala’ suit with a traditional motif around the collar while the women wore a gold ‘kurta’ set with blazers which sported the same motif as that of the men’s bandhgalas.

“You had to face great challenges on your Olympic journey,” President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach told the athletes that were gathered after processing into the stadium.

“Through the pandemic, you did not know when you could train again… You did not even know whether this competition would take place at all. You struggled. You persevered. You never gave up. And today, you are making your Olympic dream come true,” he said.

An extra line was added to the Olympic motto this year to make it read: “Faster, higher, stronger — together.”

“The pandemic forced us apart,” Bach said. “To keep our distance from each other. To stay away, even from our loved ones. This separation made this tunnel so dark. But today, wherever in the world you may be, we are united in sharing this moment together. The Olympic flame makes this light shine brighter for all of us,” he said.

The ceremony took place in the presence of just a few hundred officials and dignitaries, French President Emmanuel Macron and United States first lady Jill Biden. But other crowds gathered in Tokyo staged a protest against the Games.

The biggest sporting event on the planet is being held exactly one year later than originally planned due to the postponement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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