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Japanese athletes light the cauldron as Paralympics officially begin

(Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The Tokyo Paralympic Opening Ceremonies were alight with color as the athletes made their way through Olympic Stadium.

There will be 4,403 athletes competing in Tokyo over the next 11 days, the most ever at a Paralympic Games. Three of those athletes, from Japan, were selected to light the cauldron to signal the official start of the Games.

Although Afghanistan has no athletes competing at this year’s Paralympics, the International Paralympic Committee displayed the country’s flag in solidarity. The Taliban’s recent military takeover of Afghanistan could impact their athletes’ participation in future Olympics, especially women.

The Paralympics are filled with some of the best athletes who will compete over the next 11 days, including sitting volleyball mothers getting needed support from their Olympic counterparts and others who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

What to watch for:

NBC is set to air a record 1,200 hours of Paralympics coverage starting Tuesday.

The United States women’s wheelchair basketball team will face the Netherlands in their preliminary-round opener at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, while swimming kicks off its preliminary heats and a few finals events at 8 p.m. ET.

The women’s C1-C5 3000m individual pursuit finals in cycling is set to air at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.