Tokyo 2020: Resilience to the fore as the world comes together | Daily News

Tokyo 2020: Resilience to the fore as the world comes together

Tokyo 2020 Concept: ‘Be better, together – for the planet and the people’

The Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 is based on a unique concept of ‘Be better, together – for the planet and the people’ aimed towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Such a concept is symbolized by, for example, the Olympic and Paralympic medals made of environmentally friendly products like chips collected from our mobile phones. The Olympic and Paralympic podiums are also made of recycled plastic from supermarkets and schools. The Olympic and Paralympic Village was designed in harmony with nature and communities to celebrate the festival of peace in one united emotion.



Following is the message from Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Sugiyama Akira:

 “Today, on July 23, 2021, we celebrate the opening of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. During the course of the next 17 days, followed by the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (August 24 – September 5), we will see Sri Lankan athletes compete for the medals, bearing national pride in their hearts, with athletic excellence forged to perfection through hard work and dedication.

 On this auspicious occasion, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the nine Sri Lankan Olympians and the nine Paralympians for winning the honour to stand in the stage of their dreams. The road to Tokyo, however, has never been flat and easy. I am certain that, under the unprecedented circumstances of the global pandemic of the COVID-19, each Sri Lankan athlete had to go through great hardship, particularly after the postponement of the Games was announced last year.

They have, nonetheless, with the strength of their unwearied spirit, risen above these challenges to secure their final places, and are getting ready to march down the sacred track of the new National Stadium today, side by side with the fellow athletes gathered in Tokyo from all over the world. Despite being confronted by numerous challenges, Japan is determined to ensure that the Games are safe and secure for all people against COVID-19, by   putting strict precautionary measures in place. 

As Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide asserts, the Tokyo 2020 Games, as a symbol that the world has united in one, will showcase that we shall overcome the present challenge together. In this light, I would like to pay my deepest homage to the Sri Lankan Olympians and the Paralympians for giving us the inspiration of hope and courage, while commending, with sincere appreciation, the National Olympic Committee and the National Paralympic Committee of Sri Lanka for keeping up their unwavering commitment to make the Tokyo 2020 Games a great success.

I also wish to thank Namal Rajapaksa, Minister of Youth and Sports and State Minister of Digital Technology and Enterprise Development, for visiting Japan to grace this occasion, which, along with promoting our bilateral relationship, will greatly uplift the morale of the Sri Lankan athletes. The friends from three registered host towns, Sammu, Hashima and Maebashi, are eagerly looking forward to the great matches of the Sri Lankan athletes as well, with their enthusiastic support, and are preparing various heartwarming programmes to further propel people-to-people exchanges between the two most cordial countries.

To be sure, my heart will also be with Sri Lankan friends, and shall beat fast as the Sri Lankan athletes step into the limelight of their dream. I will watch them in admiration, and pray that they will come back with the medals for the pride of their motherland. 

The Tokyo 2020 Games will start shortly. Let us, in one voice, unite by emotion, wishing all the best for our national heroes and heroines, in their greatest performances ever!”

‘Olympics, testament to the indomitable will of the human spirit’

Following is the message from Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa:

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games is by far the pinnacle of global sports competitions and participating in it is the dream of every athlete, as it is not merely a competition, but it is a symbol of the human spirit!

It gives me great honour to be the Minister of Youth and Sports of Sri Lanka this year as the best in our nation embarks to the Tokyo Games amidst great odds, to represent not only their sporting fraternities but the hopes and dreams of 21million Sri Lankans.

 In the backdrop of COVID-19 at a time when the world has seen the worst pandemic in history and when mankind has had to reinvent the way we live and work, it makes me hopeful to see that the Olympic and Paralympic torch will burn bright once again this year despite the setbacks. This I believe is a true testament to the indomitable will of the human spirit. We maybe down but we will never be out.

I am so grateful to the host nation Japan, the people of Japan and the IOC and IPC for deciding to go ahead with the Games despite the pandemic. Holding the Games is no easy task and I believe Japan has really gone the extra mile hosting both the Summer Games as well as the Paralympic Games under the prevailing conditions. This is by far a testament to the commitment of the people Japan who have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of athletes and officials alike.

I believe that at time such as this we must give hope and not despair, spread positivity rather than negativity. For if there is only hope left then that is enough for us to triumph as one people.

Finally, to my team and all the other competitors who will be representing their nations, I wish all the very best. May the spirit of competition prevail and may the hopes of all our people drive you to be faster, stronger and may you break records and show the history books that no matter what obstacles may lie in our path that we will never be defeated.”

‘Sri Lanka proud to be part of Tokyo 2020’

Following is the message from the President of National Olympic Committee Suresh Subramaniam:

“Sri Lanka indeed is proud to be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games which will showcase 339 events representing 33 different sports and participants hailing from 206 countries, in spite of the vagaries of Covid-19 pandemic which has even forced the spectators off the stadiums.

Sri Lanka though being one of the smaller nations in this cluster, has been a part of every Summer Games since 1948, barring 1976. This year too Sri Lanka is a member of the Games with a contingent that will carry nine athletes and 17 officials.

Where Olympics and Tokyo are concerned the bond is unique. An incident that occurred on the Olympic track made such an impact on sport, a new norm blossomed to the effect that even the last to cross the line could finish a hero.

Ranatunga Karunananda represented Sri Lanka in the 1964 Olympics Men’s 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres competitions. The incident occurred during the 10,000-metre race. During the event, Karunananda was soon overtaken by the rest of the leading athletes and was lapped many times when the winner, Billy Mills of the United States, broke the tape to finish the race.

Karunananda continued his journey alone in the last four laps even after the others had finished the race. The spectators initially started to jeer the Lankan runner. But when he came around a second time, there was complete silence. Finally, he finished the race amid cheers and applause.”

‘We look forward to a spectacular showcase of sports and celebration’

Following is the message from President of the National Paralympic Committee Lt. Col. Deepal Herath:

“On behalf of the National Paralympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NPC), I’m honoured to convey a message on this occasion and it is with strong sense of achievement and pride that I mention here that we participate at the 16th Summer Paralympic Games with a contingent comprising nine athletes and officials including five coachers and three executive board officials.

What is significant for us in this year’s Games is that every team member is enthusiastically looking forward to witness a spectacular showcase of celebration and humanity and also experience the hospitality of the Japanese people who have the highest respect for others, always being courteous.

It is also pertinent to mention that excellent team work exhibited and concerted efforts by all the stakeholders including the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japanese Government and the Local Organizing Committee of the Games along with the International Paralympic Committee have made us keep our dreams alive and have been the key to achieving success up to now, despite unprecedented situations faced due to the global pandemic and we the NPC Sri Lanka hope and pray that continuous commitment of everyone towards the cause will lead to safe and successful Games.

Also we have been very impressed with the commitment and quality of perseverance of the local organizers so far with regard to organizing the teams transcending all the barriers and I take this opportunity to appreciate the initiative taken by the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka in bringing out an interesting publication to be treasured by sports-loving Sri Lankans.

Finally, I would like to extend my best wishes to the Government of Japan and all its stakeholders in organizing the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and hope that our team to the Games will always have true sportsman’s spirit to make the event a grand success and come back with all good memories that the Games will offer.”


The Games of the XXXII Olympiad is going ahead in Tokyo a year late, despite concerns about Coronavirus.

Tens of thousands of athletes, support staff and journalists are expected, but there will be no spectators as Tokyo has entered a state of emergency.

Tokyo 2020 aims to be the ‘greenest ever’ Olympics, powered by renewable energy and using medals made out of recycled material.

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are going ahead from today, despite concerns in the capital about a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japanese Government are pressing ahead with the XXXII Olympiad after it was delayed last summer – albeit in a very different manner from usual.

Here are some key numbers about this year’s Games:

The Tokyo 2020 Games will award medals across 33 sports at 42 venues across Japan.

Five sports – baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing – are featuring for the first time ever, while some – including basketball – include new events.

The number of athletes participating at the Tokyo 2020 is 11,500.

The gender balance is split  51 percent male and 49 percent female.

However, only 40.5 percent of people competing in the Paralympics are women.

IOC President Thomas Bach has said that he expects that more than 80 percent of the 11,500 athletes staying in the athletes’ village will be vaccinated by today.

All athletes have been offered vaccinations thanks to a special deal between Pfizer-BioNTech and the IOC.

If an athlete does test positive, they could be moved to an isolation hotel, ruling them out of their events.

Amount of CO2 at the ‘greenest’ Olympics: 2.93 million tonnes compared with the 3.3 million tonnes generated during London 2012.

Renewable energy sources will supply all the electricity at the Games, with LED lights used at all venues.

Medals will be cast using precious metals recovered from 6.2 million discarded mobile phones, and podiums made from recycled plastic recovered from the ocean. Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion on the postponed Olympics so far, with all bar $6.7 billion coming from the country’s taxpayers.

But Government audits suggest the figure could be much higher, with both the organizers and the IOC standing to lose billions if the Olympics are cancelled by COVID-19 for a second time.

Icon of Unwavering Fighting Spirit

An icon of Unwavering fighting spirit that united the world by emotion – by not giving
up the race until the end – Sri Lankan athlete at the 1964 Tokyo Games,
J.K. Karunananda’s name is eternally etched in the history of the Olympic Games
for he symbolized its noble spirit, “The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

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