Olympic Games 2020 opening ceremony today |24 July 2021
Passon, Govinden lead Team Seychelles
Their smiles hidden behind masks, Seychellois athletes joined their colleagues from different parts of the world to parade into the New National Stadium in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo, Japan yesterday for the opening ceremony of the re-scheduled XXXII Olympiad.
For the first time, countries were represented by both female and male flag bearers. Reigning Sportswoman of the Year Felicity Passon and Sportsman of the Year Rodney Govinden led the Seychelles contingent in the march past.
Although the ceremony lacked the usual glitz with less than 1,000 people in attendance, it marked the coming together of the world as millions across the world watched the ceremony which was broadcast live.
The Games will run until August 8, 2021.
The sportsmen and women who are defending the Seychelles’ colours are Laser sailor Rodney Govinden, swimmers Felicity Passon (female), Simon Bachmann (male), judoka Nantenaina Finesse and track & field athlete Ned Azemia.
Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socga) treasurer Mary Banane is the chef de mission. Socga president Antonio Gopal, Socga secretary general Alain Alcindor, Martin Rodriquez Barrios (doctor), Lynda Jeanne (athletics coach), Francis Labrosse (judo coach), Diogo De Souza Rocha Larenja Pontes (sailing coach) and Anna Marie Heller (swimming coach) also form part of the 13-member delegation.
Seychelles is also being represented in Tokyo by swimming official Paul Fanchette and Badminton Confederation Africa president Michel Bau who is also the chairman of the local association.
This is the 10th time Seychelles is taking part in the Olympic Games after making its debut in Moscow, Russia (formerly USSR) in 1980.
The country has also taken part in the Games in Los Angeles, USA in 1984; in Barcelona, Spain in 1992; in Atlanta, USA in 1996; in Sydney, Australia in 2000; in Athens, Greece in 2004; in Beijing, China in 2008; in London, England in 2012; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
It missed only the 1988 Games in South Korea because of its partial support of the North Korean boycott.
So far, no Seychellois athlete has won a medal at the Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics were to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020 but were delayed for a year because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The decision was based on the information provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
The international multi-sport event is now scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite being rescheduled for 2021, the event retains the Tokyo 2020 name for marketing and branding purposes.