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Tokyo Olympics 2021 highlights: Opening ceremony concludes at Tokyo Stadium

The Tokyo 2020 Games were inaugurated by Japanese Emperor Naruhito a month after raising worries about the likely spread of coronavirus during the Olympics.

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2020 Tokyo olympics | Olympics | archery

BS Web Team  | New Delhi 

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

The toned-down 2020 Summer Olympic Games opening ceremony highlighting Japan's grandeur, rich culture, and legacy while reflecting the gloomy atmosphere of a world ravaged by an inexorable pandemic concluded at National Stadium in Tokyo on Friday without the usual razzmatazz. 

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The Tokyo 2020 Games were inaugurated by Japanese Emperor Naruhito, who became the third member of his family to do so, a month after raising worries about the likely spread of coronavirus during the

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Locals strolling about the gorgeous National Stadium were denied access owing to the crowd control prohibition, despite the fact that guests from all around the world, including athletes and officials, attended the opening ceremony.

Fewer athletes from all contingents attended the ceremony, some to focus on their Saturday competitions, and others for fear of contracting the sickness that has already spread across the Games village. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, admitted that the Tokyo Games will be different from previous ones. Without his iron resolve and tenacity, the Tokyo Games would not have seen the light of day. 

Protestors gathered outside the stadium during the opening ceremony and made their voices heard, causing the police to intervene.

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.

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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.

In the field of play, a lone female athlete stood at its centre, her hand placed on the ground while feeling the presence of the seed. As she slowly stood, her shadow stretched out in the shape of a seedling.

With the Games being held in the wake of an unprecedented health crisis that tested the world, the strength of the athletes is portrayed in a video that counts down the final moments until the start of the ceremony.

The final second of the countdown was a bird's-eye view of the National Stadium, which resembled a zero when seen from above.

When the countdown hit zero, a fireworks display began that lasted for approximately 20 seconds, the colours of which were indigo and white -- the colours of the Tokyo 2020 emblem -- and shaped like a fan, which is an auspicious symbol in Japanese culture.
 


The two big screens inside the stadium outlined the COVID-19 countermeasures which have been implemented to ensure the Games goes ahead without any hiccups.

There was a lot of focus on unity in diversity, peace and solidarity during the ceremony, with the message 'you may be apart, but not alone', to the athletes who have for long trained in isolation because of the fear of contracting the COVID virus.

In the second segment, the protagonist was a lone female athlete, training in the darkness, running silently on a treadmill, paying a tribute to the many solitary athletes training all over the world.

The Japanese emperor Naruhito and Bach were then introduced.

The Japanese flag was carried out by eight children, four eminent athletes of the country, a person with an impairment and health care professionals in recognition of their relentless service during the pandemic.

The theme of the ceremony was unitedly moving forward despite the challenges thrown at the world.

With a moment of silence, the ceremony then remembered all the people who lost their lives during the pandemic, members of the Israeli delegation killed during the 1972 Munich Games massacre, the 2011 earthquake, Tsunami and the nuclear disaster.

Members of the Japanese self defense forces raised the national flag on the Protocol Stage as the national anthem 'Kimi Ga Yo' played in the background.

The country's famous singer Misia sang the national anthem.

The event was a far cry from the glitzy ceremonies of London 2012 and Rio 2016 involving thousands of performers in packed stadiums, but it stayed in tune with the unprecedented time.

 
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The Koreans, who stayed away from all International competitions in the build-up to the since 2019, reigned supreme, including a top-three finish in the women's section where young sensation An San shattered a 25-year-old Olympic record.

The Indian men's team of Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai, however, did not post particularly impressive scores and just about managed to sneak into top 10 in the team rankings.

Deepika slipped from fourth at the halfway mark to finish ninth with 663 points which was way below her best International ranking score of 686.

"I feel my performance was good as well as bad...it was in between I would say," Deepika said.

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