At the Paralympics, Refugees Lead Parade of Athletes

TOKYO — The parade of the athletes is all the time the centerpiece of the opening ceremony. At the Olympics, Greece sometimes marches in first, as a result of it’s the nation the place the Olympics originated. As with the Olympics, the quantity of athletes in the Paralympic parade is more likely to be diminished as compared with a typical Games, as a result of coronavirus restrictions prohibit athletes from coming into the Paralympic Village till 5 days earlier than their competitions.

The first crew to enter the stadium on Tuesday was the Refugee Paralympic Team, which is making its second look in the Games.

Both flag bearers have deep significance. Alia Issa, who was born in Greece after her household fled Syria, is the first girl on a refugee crew at the Paralympics. She will compete in the membership throw occasion in observe and discipline.

Abbas Karimi, a swimmer and a refugee who has lived in the United States since 2016, might be the solely Afghan athlete at the Games. The athletes who had been scheduled to compete for the nation withdrew from the Games as a result of they may not safe protected flights to Tokyo amid the chaos of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. Karimi has lived and skilled in Portland, Ore., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He might be swimming the 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter butterfly.