Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony

Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony 2
Performers dance throughout the closing ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on September 5, 2021. Philip FONG / AFP

 

Tokyo bid a vibrant farewell to the paralympics on Sunday after 12 days of stereotype-defying, record-shattering performances regardless of a year-long pandemic delay.

International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons declared the Games closed on a cool evening within the Olympic Stadium, saying that they had “not just been historic, they’ve been fantastic”.

It was a video games like no different, postponed a yr due to the pandemic and dogged by difficulties and low public assist within the build-up.

But the motion didn’t disappoint when it bought underway, with a report 86 groups profitable medals and 62 claiming a minimum of one gold.

Parsons stated the Games had “opened the door”, and it was “time for us all to play our part to break down the barriers”.

“During our carnival of sport, we have celebrated difference, exhibited the best of humanity and shown unity in diversity,” he stated.

The closing ceremony, with followers locked out over virus fears however with roughly 2,000 athletes and officers in attendance, took “harmonious cacophony” as its theme.

It featured a riot of neon-clad breakdancers, unicycling butterflies and strutting stilt-walkers, utilizing supplies recycled from the Olympic opening ceremony for its vivid props.

Among the athletes carrying their nations’ flags have been Afghanistan’s Hossain Rasouli and Zakia Khudadadi, who arrived in Tokyo with the Games already in progress after being evacuated from Taliban-controlled Kabul.

The pair, carrying purple and inexperienced group tracksuits, handed the flag over to a volunteer earlier than becoming a member of different athletes in serving to to brighten a duplicate of Tokyo’s Skytree tower.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike handed the Paralympic flag over to Parsons, who handed it on to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, representing the 2024 hosts.

Parsons then introduced the top of the Games, bringing the curtain down after 539 gold medals throughout 22 sports activities, contested nearly fully behind closed doorways due to the virus.

“I don’t want to do this, but the time has come for me to declare the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games closed,” he stated.

China completed on prime of the medal desk with 207, together with 96 golds, adopted by Britain, the United States and the Russian group.

Charismatic Figures

Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony 3
Sarah Storey

 

Highlights included biking legend Sarah Storey changing into Britain’s most profitable Paralympian along with her seventeenth gold medal, 29 years after her first.

Charismatic figures like Italian wheelchair fencer Beatrice “Bebe” Vio and German lengthy jumper Markus Rehm wowed TV audiences.

 

Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony 4
Beatrice “Bebe” Vio

 

And Japanese wheelchair tennis participant Shingo Kunieda delighted the house crowd on the penultimate day by claiming one in every of his nation’s 13 gold medals.

Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony 5
Shingo Kunieda

 

There have been additionally spectacular performances from Britain’s wheelchair rugby group, who received their first-ever gold, whereas badminton and taekwondo made their Paralympic debuts.

The Games featured 163 delegations — one fewer than the London 2012 report, regardless of a number of groups withdrawing due to pandemic difficulties.

The remaining day’s motion started with the early morning marathon occasions, with Swiss wheelchair grasp Marcel Hug defending his T54 crown.

“Silver bullet” Hug opened up an early hole on the sphere, and moved away from silver medallist Zhang Yong during the last two uphill kilometres.

“I don’t know how to feel. I’m just tired. Empty,” stated Hug, who received the sixth Paralympic gold of his profession in a time of 1hr 24min 2sec.

In the ladies’s T54 marathon, Australian Madison de Rozario clung on to complete forward of Swiss nice Manuela Schaer, profitable the gold by only one second.

“That was the longest 500 metres of my life,” de Rozario advised reporters after ending in a Paralympic report of 1: 38.11.

“That finish line couldn’t have come quick enough.”

Organisers had urged native residents to remain house and watch the motion on TV, however candy store proprietor Atsushi Nishimura advised AFP in Tokyo’s Asakusa district that he was glad he noticed it stay.

“We could have enjoyed the Olympics and Paralympics differently if they weren’t during a pandemic, but I think it was good for us that we could host the events,” he stated

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Tokyo Closes ‘Historic’ Paralympics With Colourful Ceremony

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