Paralympic Games kicks off in Tokyo
The sixteenth Paralympic Games are kicking off in Tokyo, Japan on Tuesday. The opening ceremony starts in the Olympic Stadium at 1:00 p.m., Dutch time. Dutch para-athlete Fleur Jong and hand biker Jetze Plat will carry the Dutch flag.
The Netherlands will be represented by 73 athletes in 11 sports at the Summer Paralympic Games, which will end on September 5. The group is smaller than the team that represented the Netherlands five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, when 126 athletes competed in 14 sports. Then the Dutch team ended in seventh place, bringing home 62 medals - 17 gold, 19 silver, and 26 bronze.
The expectation is that this year's team will again come home with many medals, reporter Suse van Kleef told NOS from Tokyo. "These 73 athletes are almost all medal candidates," she said. "The Netherlands sets higher qualification requirements than the International Paralympic Committee, so only world class players are here."
As with the Olympic Games a few weeks ago, the Paralympic Games are subject to restrictions due to the coroanvirus pandemic. Among other things, this means that the athletes will compete without spectators cheering them on.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.