Tomorrow in Japan the opening. Italy with 63 woman and 52 man athletes. But there is still the Covid alert.
“The most important Paralympic Games in history”: the words that Andrew Parsons, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, had entrusted to the Gazzetta are back, 100 days before the Inaugural Ceremony of the Japanese Paralympic Games scheduled for tomorrow. The Games of rebirth in this moment of a pandemic. The signal is coming from the Paralympic movement, maybe even stronger and more disruptive than the Games just a few weeks ago. There will be 4521 athletes with all kinds of disabilities (physical, sensory, intellectual) from 167 countries on all continents to show once again that, yes, it can be done. Sport as a pick to improve the world, a seed where values of union and solidarity can grow. It’s possible. Anyone who has been or has witnessed a Paralympic event knows this. Even in particular conditions such as the Japanese one. Without an audience and with constant attention to the health and safety of each participant, but with the same enthusiasm and passion that invariably characterize the Paralympics.
COVID – The guard remains very high because Covid gives no respite to Japan. On 23 July, the day of the Games’ opening ceremony, the cases were 4082, while last Saturday the figure more than sixfold: 25,380. Alarming figures are also reflected in the Paralympic bubble. Two days before the start of the competitions, the number of Covid positives rose to 131 among the people involved in the event (there are also four athletes and ten journalists). Yesterday 30 new positives were found, the highest number since Paralympic athletes arrived in Tokyo. So much so that the organizers have imposed on the protagonists to move as little as possible outside the Olympic structures, also imposing daily tests (no longer every four days) on all the personnel involved in the Paralympic Village. “We would not be here if we did not think we could play these Games safely and if they were a threat to the Japanese population. We believe we can deliver and organize these Games while safeguarding collective health. This is what we have been preparing for over the past 18 years. Months after the postponement and that’s what we will do “, Parson reiterated.
AZZURRI – Meanwhile, Italy, with a record-breaking delegation, is ready to parade behind the flag carried by Bebe Vio and Federico Morlacchi. Gender equality as at the Olympics, but for the first time, the female participation will be higher than the male one (63 athletes and 52 athletes), in the strangest Opening Ceremony ever (even here behind the show and ideas there is Italian excellence, with the creativity of Marco Balich, master of dozens of Games ceremonies, to support the Japanese team). The 113 blues, plus a guide and the helmsman of rowing, are the highest number ever and will be involved in 15 disciplines—a mix of young and old. When Simone Barlaam and Ambra Sabatini, the rising stars of swimming and athletics, were just born (for Simone) or even in the minds of their parents (for Ambra), Francesca Porcellato, the best paraplegic athlete ever in the world, in her third sporting incarnation with the handbike after golds and laurels in athletics and Nordic skiing, he was already in his fourth Paralympics. She now faces the eleventh and is always among the great protagonists. In short, a star of the first magnitude. In the pool, we have the best team in the world; in para-cycling, we are close. Athletics will bring two on the platform, such as Assunta Legnante, the largest ever in weight, and Oney Tapia, from Cuba to Italy between gold and smiles, while on the track, we talk about women with Martina Caironi, Monica Contrafatto, and, indeed, Sabatini. Then horse riding (Sara Morganti among the first in the ranking), archery (Elisabetta Mijno at the fourth Paralympics), table tennis (also here a captain, Giada Rossi), and fencing with the woman symbol Bebe Vio. In any sport, successes and surprises could come because the Paralympics is unpredictable, especially this one, without major international events to precede it or with less participation.
COVERAGE – A Paralympics that will live through images, from social media to streaming, to classic viewing on TV. Global coverage and also in this Tokyo is about to become a record edition: the rights were bought by 150 broadcasters from the five continents, for an estimated range of 4.25 billion people. In Italy, they will be broadcast by Rai, as has been the case since Turin 2006. The two ceremonies and competitions will be held between Rai2, RaiSport, and Railay, with substantially total coverage of what is proposed and attention to the Azzurri even in the competition fields not covered by the director from the Organizing Committee, thanks to Rai operators and dedicated cameras. They will be wonderful games with extraordinary athletes. To follow, read, comment. The Paralympics never disappoints.
This is an article from Gazzetta dello Sport (https://www.gazzetta.it/Paralimpici/23-08-2021/paralimpiadi-sorpasso-giochi-futuro-vincono-donne-tokyo-420649262086.shtml).