'The best of humanity': Tokyo 2020 Paralympics begins in record-breaking fashion
Updated: 2021-08-25 17:16:34 KST
The Paralympic cauldron is burning strong and on day one of competition today, the world saw the first of Tokyo 2020's Paralympians in action.
Once again, we have our sports correspondent Han Seong-woo here in the studio with the latest.
Seong-woo, after a five year wait, the Paralympics have finally begun
That's right Conn-young.
The greatest physically or intellectually impaired athletes on Earth are showing the world that even the most impossible of obstacles can be overcome.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics kicked off last night with a grand, airport-themed Opening Ceremony at the Japan National Stadium, highlighting the messages of "Moving Forward" and "We Have Wings".
In a speech, International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons called Paralympians (quote) "the best of humanity" and told them that if they had ever been negatively labeled in the past, now is their time to be relabeled as champions and heros.
Other than VIPs, no spectators were in the stands but the Parade of Nations was still full of spirit.
The first delegation to enter was the six-person Paralympic Refugee Team, led by swimmer Abbas Karimi, who was born without arms in Afghanistan.
Not long after, Afghanistan's official flag, was carried in fifth by a Games volunteer, in an act of solidarity.
Its two Paralympic athletes were prevented from joining the celebration due to the Taliban's takeover of the country.
They were able to flee to Europe with help from Australia, though, so there's still a chance taekwondo athlete Zakia Khudadadi could compete to become Afghanistan's first-ever female Paralympian.
I hope everything works out for those two so they can showcase their talent on the big stage.
And Seong-woo, I've heard this year's Games is unprecedented in scale.
It sure is.
This Paralympics is historic in more ways than one.
An all-time record of some four,four-hundred athletes from around 160 countries and are competing in Tokyo, the first city to host the Games twice.
Roughly one,eight-hundred of those Paralympians are women, making up at least forty.five percent of the entire body also a record high.
Korea's delegation, which entered the Parade of Nations eighty second dressed in modern hanbok, has 159 members, including 86 athletes competing in fourteen sports this year.
It's the largest squad the country has ever sent overseas.
What a celebration of diversity and athletic talent. So what are some sports we should be tuning in for throughout the Games?
Well, you might want to look out for two sports in the Paralympic Games that aren't in the Olympics: boccia and goalball.
Boccia is a precision ball game similar to bowling or curling, originally for cerebral palsy patients.
It now includes athletes who have any kind of neurological impairment affecting their motor functions.
Team Korea is aiming to win a gold medal in the sport for the ninth Paralympics in a row from Seoul nineteen-eighty-eight to Rio twenty-sixteen.
Goalball, on the other hand, is a team sport played by athletes with visual impairments using a ball with bells inside.
The aim is to roll a ball at speed into the opposition's goal, while the other team tries to block them from scoring with their bodies.
Meanwhile, badminton and taekwondo will be making their Paralympic debuts.
Taekwondo, in particular, has become the Paralympics' first ever full-contact sport.
And don't miss out on the wheelchair versions of basketball, fencing, rugby and tennis.
The first gold medal of this Paralympics has already been won by the way.
Australian cyclist Paige Greco broke her own world record to win gold in the women's C1-3 three thousand meter individual pursuit.
Looking forward to everything. Excellent wrap up Seong-woo.