Paralympics to be held without spectators

6:01 am on 17 August 2021

The Tokyo Paralympics will take place generally without spectators, as the government was set to prolong Covid-19 emergency measures in the capital and other regions that will run through the Games.

A spotlight highlights empty seats in the stadium ahead of the women's 3m springboard diving final event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. (Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP)

Photo: AFP or licensors

Organisers said municipalities will still be able to have schoolchildren attend events as long as proper Covid-19 safety measures are implemented, while taking into account the wishes of caregivers.

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto apologised for the move following talks between government officials, Tokyo organisers and Paralympic representatives, calling on people to watch the Games at home and avoid attending road events.

"We sincerely apologise to all ticket holders who were looking forward to watching (the Games) at the venues, but please understand that it was unavoidable to implement these measures to prevent the spread of infection," Hashimoto said.

The Paralympic competitions - to be held 24 August to 5 September - include swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and basketball, with over 4000 athletes with various impairments set to participate.

The Japanese government was set to extend its state of emergency lockdown measures in Tokyo and other regions to 12 September and expand the curbs to seven more prefectures, media reported on Monday.

A record 168 countries are scheduled to compete in 22 sports at the Paralympics.

The New Zealand team includes 28 athletes across six different sports - athletics, canoeing, cycling, swimming, shooting and wheelchair rugby.

- Reuters

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