(CNN)President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Andrew Parsons told athletes that they were the "the champion of humanity" arsenic the Tokyo Paralympics kicked disconnected with a vibrant Opening Ceremony connected Tuesday.
The delayed 16th Summer Paralympics volition instrumentality spot amid a surge of Covid-19 cases successful the state but those wrong the stadium were successful celebratory temper arsenic the contention officially began successful unprecedented circumstances.
"I cannot judge we are yet here. Many doubted this time would happen," said Parsons successful his Opening Ceremony speech.
"Many thought it impossible. But acknowledgment to the efforts of many, the astir transformative athletics lawsuit connected Earth is astir to begin.
Tokyo is the archetypal metropolis to big the Paralympics Games doubly and organizers volition beryllium hoping for different palmy contention pursuing the Olympic Games little than a period ago.
It kicked disconnected proceedings successful emblematic lively fashion, with volunteers and dancers welcoming the delegations into the National Stadium.
Parade of nations
The countries were led retired by the Paralympic Refugee Team, with athletes Alia Issa and Abbas Karimi acting arsenic the emblem bearers.
The radical of six athletes "represents the much than 82 cardinal radical astir the satellite who person been forced to fly war, persecution and quality rights abuses -- 12 cardinal of whom unrecorded with a disability," according to the IPC.
Shortly aft the Refugee Team took to the stage, a unpaid carried retired the emblem of Afghanistan successful a infinitesimal of solidarity with the country.
Due to the Taliban's instrumentality to power, flights from the state person been canceled meaning Afghanistan's athletes were incapable to be the Games.
"We would similar to person them here, unluckily it is not possible, but they volition beryllium present successful spirit," Parsons said earlier this week.
Over 4,000 athletes are expected to vie crossed 22 antithetic sports astatine this year's Games and galore were enjoying the carnival ambiance during the parade of nations, cheered connected by the ever enthusiastic volunteers.
One nation, New Zealand, decided to opt retired of the Opening Ceremony arsenic a Covid-19 precaution.
The squad said that its athletes gathering successful ample groups with radical from crossed the satellite was astatine likelihood with its ain protocols.
It comes arsenic Tokyo has witnessed a surge of caller confirmed cases successful caller weeks, with the authorities extending the authorities of exigency successful Tokyo and surrounding prefectures to September 12.
'Your clip to beryllium relabeled'
Once each athletes had entered the stadium, they were treated to a stunning airy show, firework show and creation performance.
Parsons and Japan's Olympic curate Seiko Hashimoto past took to the signifier for their speeches earlier the country's Emperor Naruhito officially declared the Games open.
"Paralympians! You gave your each to beryllium here. Blood, sweat and tears. Now is your infinitesimal to amusement the satellite your skill, your strength, your determination," Parsons added successful his passionate speech.
"If the satellite has ever labeled you, present is your clip to beryllium relabeled: champion, hero, friend, colleague, relation exemplary oregon conscionable human.
"You are the champion of humanity and the lone ones who tin determine who and what you are."
There was clip for much festivities and creator performances earlier the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame. Volunteers and athletes carried cherry blossom inspired torches to ignite the archetypal ever hydrogen fueled cauldron astatine the Games. The occurrence was near roaring arsenic the ceremonial was brought to a close.
"We person been waiting astir 5 years for these Games and we ever kept existent to the aforesaid imagination -- to compete, to triumph a medal, and to bask the Games arsenic overmuch arsenic possible," said Spanish jock Michelle Alonso Morales.
"So portion these Games are different, we are going to bask them conscionable arsenic much."
'Real beingness superheroes'
Some of sport's biggest stars person already thrown their enactment down the athletes successful Tokyo.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford wrote a fig of messages connected Twitter successful the physique up to the competition, urging radical to tune into the sum and calling the competitors "real beingness superheroes."
Bayern Munich prima Alphonso Davies besides penned an unfastened missive to the Paralympic Refugee Team, calling its six members inspirational.
"Make nary mistake, what you are astir to bash successful Tokyo volition alteration people's lives," helium wrote.
Tennis fable Billie Jean King also tweeted a connection of enactment for those taking part.
"Good luck to each the terrific athletes who person trained truthful hard successful their sports for the accidental to triumph a medal," she wrote.
Events are acceptable to statesman connected Wednesday and tally done to September 5.