Maskless flag bearers of Pakistan’s Olympic team struck a stark contrast as they marched through Tokyo’s National Stadium during the Opening Ceremony, on Friday. While the rest of the team had covered their faces the two athletes who held aloft their country’s flag pulled down their masks as they marched. While badminton player Mahoor Shahzad’s mask was under her chin, shooter Khalil Akhtar’s mask had covered his mouth but not his nose. Most members of the teams of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan were also seen at the ceremony with bare faces.
According to Tokyo 2020 playbooks and COVID-19 countermeasures athletes, presenters and volunteers are required to wear masks at all times.
Additional podium modules will be placed between gold and silver medallists and gold and bronze medallists to allow for social distancing.
Athletes will stay on their own podium module during the entire duration of the ceremony. There will be no group photo on the gold medal podium.
After much debate on the fate of the Tokyo Olympics thanks to the COVID-19 situation, the Games were finally declared open on Friday as fireworks kickstarted the Opening Ceremony at the Japan National Stadium.
With the emergence of COVID-19, many athletes had to train for the showpiece event in isolation and this was the highlight during the Opening Ceremony as performers showed how they have been connected by their hope and shared passion.
During the ceremony, parading athletes observed physical distancing. At the beginning of the ceremony, the Japanese flag entered the Olympic Stadium and after that, the light show began.
Five-time world champion Mary Kom and men’s hockey captain Manpreet Singh led the way as India made its way at the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo Olympics.
Back home, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Thakur was also seen waving the Indian flag as the Indian contingent made its way into the stadium.
Twenty-five members from the Indian contingent attended the Opening Ceremony amid the COVID-19 concerns in the Japanese capital.
After the fireworks and lighting show, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach was welcomed on the stage. The IOC had decided that only six officials will be allowed per contingent.
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