Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
voa

A referee attends a wheelchair rugby training session between Denmark and Britain

TOKYO - The Tokyo Paralympics open Tuesday after a year-long pandemic delay and with the virus continuing to cast a long shadow as Japan battles a record surge in cases.

As at the Olympics, the event will be marked by strict virus rules, with almost all spectators banned and tough restrictions on athletes and other participants.


While a swell of domestic support emerged during the Olympics after months of negative polls, there is deep concern in Japan as the Paralympics approach with the country going through a fifth virus wave.

More than 25,000 new cases were recorded on Thursday, and medics across the country have warned hospitals are at breaking point with serious cases also at record highs.

It's a challenging environment for the most important sports event for disabled athletes, and International Paralympic Committee chief Andrew Parsons has warned participants against complacency.

Despite the backdrop, IPC officials insist the reach of the event will be "incredible.""Of course, the fact that we will not have spectators at the venues is a challenge," Parsons told AFP in an interview. "But we believe we will reach more than 4 billion people through broadcasting."A

A woman walks past a sign of the 2020 Paralympics Image source: voavoa


Local officials say the Games can be held safely, with athletes and other participants subject to the same anti-infection rules that applied to the Olympics.

Competitors can only enter the Paralympic Village shortly before their event and must leave within 48 hours of the end of their competition.

They will be tested daily and limited to moving between training venues, competition sites and the Village.

The measures are intended to prevent the Games from becoming a superspreader event -- and officials say the Olympics proved the restrictions work.

There were 552 positive cases linked to the Olympics reported from July 1 until Sunday, the majority among Japan residents employed by the Games or working as contractors.

So far, 138 cases related to the Paralympics have been confirmed, also mostly among Japan-based Olympic officials, though at least four athletes have also tested positive.

But Olympic officials say there is no evidence of infection spreading from the Games to the rest of Japan, where case numbers were already on the rise.

Still organizers acknowledge the worsening environment.

"The infection situation today is different to how it was before the Olympics. It has deteriorated," said Tokyo 2020 official Hidemasa Nakamura on Friday. "And the local medical system is also in a very tight situation."

The virus surge has caused tensions, with some local regions and schools cancelling planned trips to Games events despite support for the programme from Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

The mood among Paralympians remains buoyant though, after the uncertainties of the year-long delay.

"It's our time to take aim at gold!" tweeted U.S. archer Matt Stutzman, a Paralympic silver medalist who uses the handle "Armless Archer."

Stutzman is among those likely to be making an appearance on the medal podium during the Games, which will see 4,400 athletes from around 160 national teams competing.

There are 22 sports, with athletes competing in different categories and classes depending on the nature of their disability. Badminton and taekwondo are appearing for the first time.

Top names include Germany's Markus Rehm, dubbed the "Blade Jumper" for his gravity-defying feats in long jump, which have earned him three gold medals and a bronze.

He has pushed to be included in the Olympics, but so far without success over concerns that his prosthetic blade gives him an advantage.

Other household names include Tatyana McFadden, the American wheelchair racer who will be competing in her fifth summer Paralympics.

She also appeared at the Sochi Winter Games, where she won a silver medal in the country where she was born, as her adoptive U.S. mother and Russian birth mother cheered her on.

Japan will be hoping it can repeat the gold rush that saw it bring home a record 58 gold Olympic medals.

Among its top medal hopes is Shingo Kuneida, the reigning world No. 1 wheelchair men's single champion and considered one of the greatest figures in the sport. (VOA/RN)


Keywords: Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics, Sports


Popular

IANS

In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment.

By Prerana Agarwal Saxena

In all the wedding excitement, it's easy to overlook the impact a wedding has on the environment. While everyone is making their big fat Indian wedding dreams come true, they are also adding their carbon footprint and undue energy consumption. Modern couples are now looking for ways to have a wedding with a sustainably conscious mindset. It's become about incorporating less waste, locally sourced and seasonal food, natural materials over the use of plastic. Mindful wedding planning and decor includes the use of recycled paper and goods along with eco-friendly venue needs. Check out this quick guide to achieve a sustainably conscious wedding without compromising on luxury:

Choose locally sourced material to uplift artisans
Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. With the use of locally sourced materials and local artisans coming into play, the wedding instantly becomes sustainable. Include the work of local vendors ensure minimal packaging requirements, thus saving on unnecessary plastic and lamination. It also decreases the need for transporting elements from other cities and hence lowers the carbon footprint. For instance, at one of our weddings, we made use of sand art for a setup in Jodhpur. This helped promote local work while also being environmentally friendly with zero wastage of other materials. In another instance from Rajasthan, the traditional glass-blown technique was used to build decor items while giving a cultural touch to the destination wedding.

sustainable sand art Sustainable can be luxurious too, incorporate some native flavour into the decor and theme. | Photo by Jason Coudriet on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

The vaccination was administered from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. and the compiled data was made available late at night.

The Tamil Nadu health department has administered 16,43,879 lakh doses of vaccine in the second mega vaccination camp organised by it. The state public health department in a statement on Sunday said that this has taken the total vaccination to one crore since the beginning of September till date. The vaccination was administered from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m. and the compiled data was made available late at night.

The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. Regular vaccination will resume after the vaccine supplies arrive from New Delhi, officials said. The state health department had expected to vaccinate 15 lakh people on Sunday in 18,824 centres spread across primary health centres, anganwadis, noon meal centres, government hospitals, schools and some auditoriums.

person in white long sleeve shirt holding gray pen The health department officials also said that as the state has almost exhausted its quota of vaccines, there would not be any vaccines on Monday. | Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

Hanisha Kapoor, COO, ArchiesBeauty.com shares makeup trends experimented by these Bollywood divas throughout 2021 for inspiration.

Festivals are just around the corner and while you brainstorm about OOTDs (outfit of the day), don't forget the right makeup. Hanisha Kapoor, COO, ArchiesBeauty.com shares makeup trends experimented by these Bollywood divas throughout 2021 for inspiration. While some stuck to the classics, others mixed it up... take a look:

The Classic Red Lip
We don't see a future where classic red lips go out of fashion. The right way to achieve this celebrity look is to focus on accentuating your lips and keeping the rest of the face minimal. Give your lips a good scrub to plump them, moisturize and follow it up with a red lip liner to define the shape of your lips. Now go on with the perfect shade of red and finish your look with a slick of eyeliner, minimal concealer, and foundation.

Keep reading... Show less