Tokyo, Jul 23 (PTI):
The Olympics like no other opened here on Friday sans the customary razzmatazz, the toned-down ceremony showcasing Japan’s grandeur, rich culture and heritage while reflecting the sombre mood of a world ravaged by an unrelenting pandemic.
Japanese emperor Naruhito was there to inaugurate the Games, a month after voicing concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus during the Olympics, becoming the third member from his family to do the honours.
It was ironical that the locals milling around the majestic National Stadium were not allowed entry due to the ban on crowds, even as visitors, including athletes and dignitaries, from across the world participated in the opening ceremony.
Fewer athletes across contingents took part in the ceremony, some to stay focussed on their events on Saturday, a lot others out of the fear of catching the infection that has already found its way way into the Games village.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, without whose steely resolve and stubbornness the Tokyo Games wouldn’t have seen the light of the day, acknowledged that it will be different from the ones in the past.
Even as the opening ceremony took place, protestors gathered outside the stadium and made their voices heard, forcing the police to act.
Although there were no spectators, there were fireworks and music, from famous Japanese video games, to which each of the competing nations walked in, led by Greece, home of the Ancient Olympic Games, with host nation Japan entering the stadium last.A total of 19 Indian athletes, including flag-bearers iconic boxer M C Mary Kom and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, besides six officials, participated in the ceremony. The country has a 228-strong delegation in Tokyo, including over 120 athletes.
The show began with a video of geometric shapes drawn on a blackboard in chalk. A hand-drawn animation set them into motion, and the shapes gradually turned into the National Stadium.
Tokyo, Jul 23 (PTI):