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Team Kenya dazzles at the Olympics Opening Ceremony [Pictures]

Team Kenya is ready.

Kenya's delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Malkia Strikers Captain Mercy Moim and Shujaa Captain Andrew Amonde were at the centre stage as they led the Kenyan delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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For the first time in history, each country had two flag bearers. Traditionally, one person from each country is selected to carry the flag during the procession.

But this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have actively encouraged countries to choose at least one female athlete, as well as one male.

IOC president Thomas Bach said: "The IOC decided that there should be – for the first time ever – at least one female and one male athlete in every one of the 206 teams and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team participating at the Games of the Olympiad.

Additionally, we have also changed the rules to allow National Olympic Committees to nominate a female and a male athlete to jointly bear their flag during the Opening Ceremony."

Speaking from Kurume City in Japan, Moim was exited with the news, saying that it is an opportunity to showcase to the world Kenya’s heritage since they walked through the Japan National Stadium in Maasai printed attire.

“I am happy for this opportunity; it came as a surprise because I was not expecting to carry Kenya’s flag at the Olympics opening ceremony.

As a girl from Mt. Elgon in a small village called Kaboyua, I am extremely happy. I know we are going to do our best, the national anthem will be sung in Tokyo severally, we will be number one,” Moim said.

At this year's Olympics there are more female Kenyan athletes than men. In the delegation of 87, there are a total of 49 women and 38 men athletes with athletics carrying the most participants at 40.

Rugby is the second highest delegation with 26 players (13 men and 13 women) while the national women’s volleyball team is third with 12 players.

The quadrennial event other opened on Friday with fireworks illuminating an empty stadium and a moment of silence to honour those lost to COVID-19, with a nod to Japanese tradition represented by wooden Olympic rings linked to the 1964 Games.

Postponed for a year, organisers were forced to take the unprecedented step of holding the Games without fans as the novel coronavirus is on the rise again, taking lives around the world.

Regardless, it marks a coming together of the world, with an audience of hundreds of millions around the globe and at various stages of the pandemic tuning in to watch the start of the greatest show in sport.

The opening video featured at the stadium recapped Japan's path to the Games and the challenges the world has faced since the selection of the Japanese capital as host in 2013.

It showed how in 2020 the coronavirus struck, with lockdowns forcing the unprecedented postponement only four months before the Games were supposed to open, setting off a roller-coaster period of uncertainty and preparations in isolation for the athletes.

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