Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic church, has praised the power of the Paralympic Movement and efforts to give sporting opportunities to all.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Pope referenced how many Paralympians demonstrate the virtues of commitment, sacrifice and loyalty.
"When I see what certain athletes are capable of, who have some disabilities imprinted on their physique, I am amazed by the power of life," said Pope Francis.
"The Paralympic Movement is very precious; not only to include everyone, but also because it is the opportunity to tell and give citizenship rights in the media, to stories of men and women who have made disability their weapon of redemption.
"When I see or read about some of their business, I think that the limit is not within them but only in the eyes of those who look at them.
"They are stories that give birth to stories, when everyone thinks that there is no longer any story to tell."
The head of the Catholic church resides in the Vatican City, a microstate located within Italian capital Rome.
Italian Paralympic Committee President Luca Pancalli reflected on the Pope’s words and the values of the Paralympic Movement.
"The Holy Father offers us an extraordinary opportunity to reflect on the importance of sport in contemporary society and on those values that should guide every sportsman in competition as well as in life," Pancalli said.
"The concepts expressed represent a source of inspiration for all sports enthusiasts and an invitation to experience every competition, whatever it is, as an opportunity for individual and collective growth.
"Pope Francis thus gives the international sports family a wonderful wish for 2021, in the name of sport as an instrument of inclusion and solidarity."
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are set to feature the most events in the Games’ history, with 540 competitions due to take place later this year.
There will be 22 sports on the Games programme, including badminton and taekwondo, which are both set for debuts.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paralympics are scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5, having been postponed from 2020.