The Tokyo Olympics were declared open on Friday after defying a year-long pandemic delay and lingering coronavirus threats after COVID-19 forced organizers to ban spectators at all but a handful of venues.

Iran PressAsia: An Olympics like no other kicked off Friday with an opening ceremony like no other that was capped by Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lighting the cauldron to officially launch the competition.

The ceremony in Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium began and ended with quintessentially Japanese performances that were aimed at an audience of billions around the world.

The games opened while still in the shadow of COVID-19 the Japanese capital was under a state of emergency, and many of the country's residents were adamantly opposed to holding the world sporting event at all.

Outside the stadium, hundreds of protesters carried placards that read “Lives over Olympics” and chanted “Stop the Olympics” as they marched.

But persevering in the face of the pandemic quickly emerged as a theme in the first moments of the ceremony, which began at 8 pm local time and included a moment of silence for those who died.

But there was also joy on the masked faces of the athletes from more than 200 countries parading proudly through the stadium with their flags unfurled.

Despite repeated assurances from Japanese officials and Olympic organizers that the Games would be “safe and secure,” dozens of people linked to the competition — including more than a dozen athletes — have already tested positive for COVID-19.

66 Iranian athletes will attend the Tokyo Olympics. 


Read More:

Iranian athletes gain 67 Olympic quotas

Iran's sports minister meets Japanese counterpart