The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games have begun after the opening ceremony at Japan's National Stadium. The 12-day sporting celebration has 539 events in 22 para sports. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said 161 countries and 4,500 para athletes are taking part. This includes the Refugee Paralympic Team. Japan's emperor opened the Games. He said: "I would like to join you in wishing all athletes the very best." The IPC president said: "The Paralympics are not just fantastic to watch, they also have the ability to transform society."
The Games should have taken place last year. The coronavirus pandemic postponed them. The IPC president spoke about his happiness at the event happening. He said: "I cannot believe we are finally here.…Many thought it was impossible. But, thanks to the efforts of many, the most transformative sport event on Earth is about to begin." A 14-year-old Ugandan swimmer summed up her excitement about the Games. She said: "I feel like I'm meeting movie stars." She added: "Since it's the Paralympics and everybody else is disabled, I feel really comfortable."