Tokyo, August 24: Five countries made their Paralympic Games debut as a total of 162 nations and a delegation of refugees took part in the parade during the Opening Ceremony for Tokyo 2020 Games. The new entrants into the Paralympic family at Tokyo are Bhutan, the Maldives, Grenada, Paraguay, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A total of 21 countries, members of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). decided not to participate this year -- either because of the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic or because no athlete managed to qualify for the Games. Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Tek Chand, Javelin Thrower, To Be India’s New Flag Bearer at Opening Ceremony After Mariyappan Thangavelu Quarantined for Potential Exposure to COVID-19.

Afghanistan's flag was part of the ceremony even though athletes from the country could not make it to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games because of the chaos associated with the Taliban takeover of their country. The Refugees Team entered the stadium first as part of the parade. The Refugees Paralympic Team is participating in its second Games. The number of participants is still more than that at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and two less than the 164 that lined up in London in 2012.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 24, 2021 11:32 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website