Wed, 29 Sep 2021

Tokyo [Japan], July 23 (ANI): Pita Taufatofua on Friday hogged the limelight when he paraded as Tonga's flag bearer without a shirt during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics here at the Japan National Stadium.

The Tongan athlete had graced the opening ceremonies of the Rio Olympics and the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang in a similar way. Taufatofua on Friday arrived in style to lead Tonga's charge in the ongoing Olympic Games.

The 37-year-old had dropped hints on his social media hours before the Opening ceremonies as to what he would be wearing.

He shared photos and relayed their personal significance, before ominously telling his social media followers: "Don't blink."Tokyo 2020 marked the third shirtless outing for the Tongan athlete who became a viral sensation when in Rio 2016 as he appeared shirtless, oiled up and donned his tapa cloth. He has appeared in three such major events.

"Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020. If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Olympics said in a tweet.

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.

Many athletes had to train for the showpiece event in isolation due to COVID-19 and this was the highlight during the Opening Ceremony as performers showed how they have been connected by their hope and shared passion.

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.

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.

This year's Olympics will feature a record 33 sports comprising 339 events. The initial video which kicked off the ceremony showed Tokyo's elation at winning the bid to host the Games and then the stadium went into darkness as the 2020 event had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

There have been questions in Japan over the hosting of the Olympics even when the host nation has been witnessing a surge in COVID-19 infections and total Games-related cases have risen to 106.

Even though the Opening Ceremony kicked off, protestors took to the streets to voice their unhappiness at the Games going ahead in Tokyo.

The torch relay had recently concluded its journey through Tokyo having spent most of the 15-day final leg of its nationwide tour off roads and away from the public. (ANI)

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