Fireworks, musical arrangements, dances and teams marching into the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marked the commencement of the 2016 Paralympics.
Syrian refugee and amputee swimmer Ibrahim al-Hussein, 27, led the opening ceremony parade. He lost his leg during a bombing in Syria and was elated when was revealed as flag bearer for the International Paralympics Athletes team. He thus became the first athlete to enter the stadium for the 2016 Games.
“I am trying to comprehend what is going on. For me, 2016 has been too good to be true. I was in the Olympic Torch Relay and then I was told I would be here at the Paralympics Games,” he said.
Athletes with various physical and mental impairment — including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness and cerebral palsy — will compete in a range of sports.
Unfortunately, Paralympians with learning disabilities can only participate in only three of 22 sports, since their impairments do not meet the minimum disability criteria.
This year’s Paralympics are the biggest ever and will see 4,300 representing 160 teams from around the world compete.
Find out more in the video above.