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Tokyo gears up for Paralympic Games

huge ball with the words tokyo paralympics written on the side
huge ball with the words tokyo paralympics written on the side Image credit: news.sky.com

With just hours to go until the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games athletes are gearing up for one of the most important events in their lifetime.

Due to the increasing spread of the Delta variant crowd capacity has been stripped back to a bare minimum, as Para canoeist Emma Wiggs MBE explains things will be different compared to past years.

Wiggs told Sky News: "It's been strange. Having gone through the last year-and-a-half like everybody else has living under restrictions, [to] going to the airport on Monday… [for] the first trip out other than training.

"It's a strange Games but we all feel great to be here and we're cracking on with our job and getting training [in]."

GB Paralympics are hoping to match, if not better, their triumph at Rio when they won 147 medals, including 64 gold.

But away from the tracks Tokyo is fighting a losing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time the city reported more than 5,000 new cases of the virus for four consecutive days when the total rose to 5,074.

Tokyo has reached crisis point, Covid patients are being sent oxygen supplies to their homes to keep hospital admissions down whenever possible.

Each event sees athletes competing on their level of ability taking their physical, visual or intellectual capacity into consideration.

Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Natasha Baker MBE told Sky News: "The Paralympics, and seeing disability on TV, it's really, really empowering to show we may have disabilities but actually we have amazing abilities as well.

"We are able to do those incredible things and end up on the podium with those medals around our neck, and our differences are incredible.

"Whether you make it to that stage or whether you just take part - that is just as important."

ABLE2UK will be providing daily coverage from the Tokyo Paralympics online and our social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook.