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Sep 6, 2021

Paralympic Games: Tokyo bid farewell with full of colour, diversity, flair

Foreign Affairs News Desk
Fireworks are seen during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 5. (Photo by Kai Fujii)
Fireworks are seen during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 5. (Photo by Kai Fujii)

After 12 days of competition across 22 sports with 4,400 athletes from 161 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) showing the world their incredible skills, talent and indomitable spirit, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games has officially come to an end with the Closing Ceremony on Sunday, September 5.

As the Paralympic flame was extinguished at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo bid farewell to the Paralympic Games and handed the baton over to Paris 2024.

In a Closing Ceremony full of colour and flair, the significance of unity and diversity was the centrefold of proceedings as Tokyo handed over the Paralympic flag to the next host city Paris.

The beginning sequences of the Closing Ceremony began with a story of a boy who has fallen under the spell of the Paralympic Effect. The boy, who previously thought differently of impaired people, changed his perceptions after witnessing the Paralympic Games. Throughout the scene we saw him become inspired by Paralympians.

Standing in the middle of the famous Shibuya Scramble, the boy’s music spread the Paralympic effect to all those around him. The Olympic Stadium then erupted in a firework display featuring the colour of the Agitos symbol – red, blue and green.

The “City Where Differences Shine” is brought to life by the power of Paralympians through an array of materials and colours in various shapes and sizes whilst performers parade their love for their own creativity.

It was a ‘harmonious cacophony’ of performances from the wonderland-esque world that featured acrobatic performers to jazz-style music whilst the music transitioned as a band of percussionists entered. Finally, as all performers came together, a galaxy slowly stretched across the field, unveiling a colourful earth and fireworks lighting up the Tokyo night sky.

As the Paralympic flag was lowered to the sound of the Paralympic anthem, Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike handed the flag to the International Paralympic President Andrew Parsons before the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo received the flag.

The French national anthem, “The Marseillaise” was then performed in sign language by Betty Moutoumalaya.

What followed was a stunning artistic display of hypnotic choreography featuring 128 performers who paid tribute to Para athletes before Prone, an artist who developed ALS in 2015, performed and mixed music using movement of his eyes.

Originally performed by the talented Louis Armstrong, “What a Wonderful World” is synonymous with the universal message of love, peace and harmony.

Performed by a diverse group from the artist RIMI’s sign-singing and the beautiful vocals from both Okuno Atsushi and Koshio Yuina to the athletes in the stadium and the 62-member cast who auditioned singing along, it was a powerful moment to remind the world about the importance of inclusion and coming together.

With Sunday night’s closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, Japan turned the page on a global sporting event that took place despite the COVID-19 pandemic, overwhelming public opposition and a string of scandals involving Olympic officials.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga attended the closing ceremony in one of his final public appearances as Japan’s head of government.

As the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics end, Tokyo 2020’s legacy will now fall to its successor, Paris 2024.

And then, at last the Paralympic flame was extinguished as the cauldron closed. Arigato Tokyo!!!!