The Tokyo Olympic Stadium may not have been full, but there was no lack of emotion as the Afghanistan flag was carried into the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Tuesday (24 August 2021).
Two athletes had been due to compete for Afghanistan at the Paralympics, before their National Paralympic Committee (NPC) withdrew from the Games, due to flights being cancelled out of the capital, Kabul.
But it was decided that the flag would be represented in Japan as 'an act of solidarity and peace' according to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons earlier in the week.
"We will include the Afghanistan flag in the Ceremony in a sign of solidarity," said Parsons.
"It is important to highlight that as it is a message of solidarity and peace that we send to the world.
"We would like to have them here, unfortunately it is not possible, but they will be here in spirit."
The flag was carried into the Opening Ceremony by a Tokyo 2020 volunteer.