The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games began on Tuesday night with the opening ceremony at Japan's National Stadium. The twelve-day sporting celebration includes a total of 539 events in 22 para sports. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said a total of 161 countries and 4,500 para athletes are taking part in the Games. This includes the Refugee Paralympic Team. The opening ceremony took place in an empty stadium. Japan's Emperor Naruhito 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 like no other sports event on this planet."
The Games should have taken place last year but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The IPC president Andrew Parsons spoke about his happiness at the event finally happening. He said: "I cannot believe we are finally here. Many people doubted this day would happen. 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, Husnah Kukundakwe, summed up her excitement about being at 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."
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