The Belgian delegation, flag bearer Nafi Thiam and Félix Denayer in the lead, entered the Olympic stadium in Tokyo at around 3:10 p.m. (10:10 p.m. in Japan) on Friday.
Hockey player Denayer was accompanied by his teammates Tom Boon and Gus Meurmans, heptathlon player Thiam had invited hurdler Hanne Claes. In addition, the Belgian delegation was made up of chef de mission Olav Spahl, skateboarders Lore Bruggeman and Axel Cruysberghs and their trainer Hans Claessens, rider Lara de Liedekerke and her trainer Kai-Steffen Meier, badminton player Lianne Tan and his trainer Indra Chandra, archer Jarno De Smedt, kayaker Gabriel De Coster and the women’s basketball team (Julie Allemand, Marjorie Carpréaux, Antonia Delaere, Kyara Linskens, Billie Massey, Emma Meesseman, Hanne Mestdagh, Kim Mestdagh, Heleen Nauwelaers, Jana Raman, Julie Vanloo, Ann Wauters and coach Philippe Mestdagh).
Belgium marched just after Peru and ahead of Poland. After Greece, which traditionally opens, and the Olympic refugee team, it was the turn of countries according to their place in the Japanese alphabet, before the host country, Japan, closed the row. Due to the measures of the corna, the athletes were not able to gather en masse in the central plaza as usual.
After crossing a hurdle of Japanese applause, many athletes remained in the stadium, for others the passage through the Olympic stadium was very short.
Not a single Belgian dignitary attended the opening ceremony. “The tragic events of recent days in Belgium would have made a presence inappropriate,” said Philippe Vander Putten, CEO of BOIC, in the decision. (Belgium)
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