Tokyo set to deliver a superlative opening ceremony today
The star attraction will be the Olympic Stadium which stages the colourful opening ceremony tomorrow. The 2020 Olympic Games which was to be held exactly last year around this time but the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic did not show any mercy not only to sports events but virtually all human activities around the globe.
The opening ceremony has always been an integral part of every Olympics, ever since the first modern games were held in Athens in 1896. It allows the host nation to promote its national identity to the world.
Hence, Japan will blend it with Asian culture as the ceremony is watched by hundreds of millions of television viewers globally.
The Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony will consist of a number of key events, including the artistic program, the parade of athletes, the lighting of the Olympic flame and the symbolic release of the doves of peace.
Even the postponed Olympic Games were not sure this year too as a fresh wave hit Japan a couple of months ago. But the International Olympic Committee (IOC) kept pressing the Japanese organisers to hold on new dates, despite numerous protests by the people here.
Finally, the IOC and Japan Organising Committee beat all overwhelming odds to host the games to empty stadia in the capital. Although the organisers planned to accommodate only the local citizens as spectators keeping away thousands of global Olympic fans, that too is impossible due to the fresh COVID-19 outbreak.
But Japan is going to host their biggest sporting event since Tokyo hosted it in 1964. Since then, the Japanese city of Osaka has hosted the IAAF World Championships while Hiroshima was the venue for the 1994 Asian Games. Yours truly was fortunate to witness both the events though he was not even born in 1964.
Though the spectators are kept out of Olympic events in the capital, only a selected and handful of spectators will be accommodated at the few Games venues outside the city.
Nevertheless, Japan is not going to compromise when it comes to quality and superiority and they are ready to show the world their grit and power. They will beat all odds and host another superior Olympics.
Carrying Sri Lanka’s lion flag at the opening ceremony parade will be its Men’s and Women’s overall captains – judoka Chamara Dharmawardana and gymnast Milka Gehani de Silva.
It’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Namal Rajapaksa, who arrived here this morning, is expected to be among the VIPs invited to grace the opening ceremony.
People all over the world spent the past one and a half year living under the threat of COVID-19 and the Tokyo 2020 Games will be held in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic.
We are all different ages and nationalities and come from all walks of life, and now on top of that we are physically separated. That is why we want everyone to experience the same excitement, joy, and at times disappointment, through the athletes’ competitive performances.
It is an invaluable treasure that we believe has the power to unite the world through emotion – even if we are apart, speak different languages, or come from different cultures.
In the opening ceremony lined up for tomorrow, we will aspire to reaffirm the role of sport and the value of the Olympic Games, to express our gratitude and admiration for the efforts we all made together over the past year and also to bring a sense of hope for the future.
It is going to be a novel experience tomorrow though the composition of the opening ceremony has been kept a secret. We hope it will be an experience that conveys how we all have the ability to celebrate differences, to empathise, and to live side by side with compassion for one another.
Japan’s new National Stadium in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo is a US $1.5 billion three-tiered complex designed by prominent Japanese architect Kengo Kuma with a seating capacity of 68,000 – most of them would be empty due to COVID-19 restrictions.
However, since the games will no longer have fans due to Tokyo’s Coronavirus state of emergency, a group of around 10,000 diplomats, foreign dignitaries, Olympic sponsors and members of the IOC will now be the only spectators in attendance at the opening ceremony.
The open-air, oval-shaped stadium features a wooden lattice design that evokes traditional styles seen in Japanese shrines and pagodas. Its wood and steel composite roof, which was partially sourced from Japanese-grown larch and cedar trees, opens at the centre to allow hot air to escape.
The stadium is intended to blend in with the surrounding parkland and “restore the link that Tokyo lost with nature.”
There’s been a considerable amount of turnover on the creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics since the games were postponed in March 2020.