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Let the Games begin! Opening ceremony kicks off the Tokyo Olympics

Organisers of the opening ceremony evoked the spirit of John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, 50 years after they wrote the peace anthem Imagine.

A procession of flag bearers from 207 nations was being led by eight children, symbolising that the future is now in their hands.

The Games were delayed for a year because of the pandemic and many in Japan have called for them to be cancelled — but they were being officially opened at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Olympic chief Thomas Bach began proceedings with the words: “Welcome to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020! Finally, the moment has arrived.”

He called the global event “a light at the end of this dark tunnel” only made possible because of the Japanese people’s “incredible ability” to overcome adversity.

The ceremony started with four athletes carrying the Japanese flag into the stadium, followed by a person with disabilities and a health worker who cared for victims of the pandemic.

British rower Mohamed Sbihi, 33, and sailor Hannah Mills were making history leading out Team GB — the first time there have been male and female flag-bearers.

As the greatest show on earth got under way, Tokyo 2020 chiefs said they wanted children to be at the forefront of a “peaceful” and “more diverse” fresh start post Covid-19.

They likened it to the future that Beatle Lennon and his Japanese activist wife Ono imagined without “borders, nationalism, warfare, religious constructs or ownership, where life and all its riches are shared in peace and harmony”.

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