India's team arrive during the opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 24, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )
After Thangavelu Mariyappan was quarantined as he came in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person on his flight to Tokyo, Tek Chand's name was announced as India's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.
Tek Chand carried the tri-colour during the spectacular opening ceremony filled with music, fireworks and theme-based dance performances on Tuesday (August 24) as India began the Tokyo Paralympics campaign with an aim to register its best medal haul this time.
After Thangavelu Mariyappan was quarantined due to coming in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person on his flight to Tokyo, Tek Chand's name was announced as India's flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.
For India, a total of 54 para-athletes from across nine sports disciplines will be participating. This is India's biggest ever contingent to Paralympic Games.
And here is our #Agitos at the opening ceremony of @Paralympics @Tokyo2020 wishing all very amazing games ahead... @Media_SAI @ianuragthakur @KirenRijiju @IndiaSports @parsonsandrew @ParalympicIndia #Praise4Para pic.twitter.com/UvMKQjphcD— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) August 24, 2021
The 13-day long event is set to run until September 5 and a total of 539 gold medals are up for grabs across 22 sports.
Similar to the recently concluded Olympics, the Para Games will also be marked by strict virus rules. Almost all spectators are banned and there are tough restrictions on athletes and other participants.
The ceremony took place in front of around 800 VIPs and officials, but there was a celebratory mood as 162 teams enjoyed their long-awaited moment in the global spotlight.
Organisers said the opening ceremony was attended by about 3,400 members of team delegations, 800 Games "stakeholders" and guests of honour, and 2,400 members of the media.
The Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020 will be an event of many firsts, with the most striking being a record number of female athletes who will be competing in the quadrennial showpiece.
According to the IPC Qualification Criteria, at least 40.5 per cent of all the athletes will be women. This equates to 1,782 athletes, an increase in the 1,671 women who competed at Rio Games 2016 (38.6 per cent).