The 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games began Tuesday night the opening ceremony at Japan's National Stadium. The twelve-day sporting celebration includes a total 539 events in 22 para sports. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said a total 161 countries and 4,500 para athletes are taking part the Games. This includes the Refugee Paralympic Team. The opening ceremony took place an empty stadium. Japan's Emperor Naruhito opened the Games. He said: "I would like to join you 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 no other sports event this planet."
The Games should have taken place last year but were postponed because the coronavirus pandemic. The IPC president Andrew Parsons spoke his happiness 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 the efforts many, the most transformative sport event Earth is about to begin." A 14-year-old Ugandan swimmer, Husnah Kukundakwe, summed her excitement about being the Games. She said: "I feel I'm meeting movie stars." She added: "Since it's the Paralympics and everybody else is disabled, I feel really comfortable."