Tokyo Paralympics to open as Japan battles COVID-19 surge

International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons said Monday that banning spectators was "the right decision.""My message is turn on the TV and enjoy as much Paralympic Games as you can." He has insisted the Games will be held safely, but added that participants "must remain vigilant... We must not be complacent." Olympic organisers have reported 547 cases linked to the Games, mostly among Japan-based employees or contractors, and even before the Paralympic opening ceremony, 151 cases have been detected among participants. "WE NEED TO BRING CHANGE" Japan team deputy chief Miki Matheson told AFP that challenging conditions were nothing Paralympians hadn't experienced before. "For Paralympians, facing adverse challenges and pursuing what is possible for them is nothing special," she said. "Although conditions are tough in the pandemic, it means a lot for them to see what they can do and shine." This year's Paralympics will feature 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo appearing for the first time. Among the athletes to watch will be long-jumper Rehm, who is planning to "attack" the 8.62m world record he set in June. Rehm, 33, has admitted he had struggled after the Games were postponed, wondering if he could maintain his form. "My coach made it happen," he told reporters. "My coach did everything to prepare me for this day, and I'm definitely going to try to attack this 8.62," he said. The Games will also put the spotlight on Japan's record of disability inclusion, with activists saying more remains to be done despite some progress, especially in Tokyo, on accessibility. "Tokyo is hosting the Paralympic Games for the second time, so this time round we need to bring change to society," Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto said Monday. "If we can achieve that, we can consider the Paralympics a success."

Tokyo Paralympics to open as Japan battles COVID-19 surge

International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons said Monday that banning spectators was "the right decision."

"My message is turn on the TV and enjoy as much Paralympic Games as you can."

He has insisted the Games will be held safely, but added that participants "must remain vigilant... We must not be complacent."

Olympic organisers have reported 547 cases linked to the Games, mostly among Japan-based employees or contractors, and even before the Paralympic opening ceremony, 151 cases have been detected among participants.

"WE NEED TO BRING CHANGE"

Japan team deputy chief Miki Matheson told AFP that challenging conditions were nothing Paralympians hadn't experienced before.

"For Paralympians, facing adverse challenges and pursuing what is possible for them is nothing special," she said.

"Although conditions are tough in the pandemic, it means a lot for them to see what they can do and shine."

This year's Paralympics will feature 22 sports, with badminton and taekwondo appearing for the first time.

Among the athletes to watch will be long-jumper Rehm, who is planning to "attack" the 8.62m world record he set in June.

Rehm, 33, has admitted he had struggled after the Games were postponed, wondering if he could maintain his form.

"My coach made it happen," he told reporters.

"My coach did everything to prepare me for this day, and I'm definitely going to try to attack this 8.62," he said.

The Games will also put the spotlight on Japan's record of disability inclusion, with activists saying more remains to be done despite some progress, especially in Tokyo, on accessibility.

"Tokyo is hosting the Paralympic Games for the second time, so this time round we need to bring change to society," Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto said Monday.

"If we can achieve that, we can consider the Paralympics a success."