Acting ANOC President Robin Mitchell believes Tokyo 2020 will unite the world's athletes and NOCs ©Getty Images

Robin Mitchell, the Acting President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), believes Tokyo 2020 will unite the world's athletes and NOCs.

The Olympics in the Japanese capital are finally due to begin with the Opening Ceremony today, after being pushed back by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fiji's Mitchell said that the Games would celebrate the best of humanity at a time "when it is needed most".

Around 11,000 athletes are due to compete here but the sporting action will take place in empty arenas due to a ban on spectators.

"After years of dedication, perseverance and patience, athletes from the world’s NOCs and the Refugee Olympic Team will march together in solidarity at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020," said Mitchell, who represented NOCs on the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission.

"This special ceremony will mark the beginning of two weeks of Games, which will transcend sport and celebrate the very best of humanity.

"We owe so much to our Japanese hosts and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) for ensuring the Games can go ahead in a safe and secure manner. 

"Hosting this global event is always a major undertaking and to have delivered it to these standards during the pandemic is a remarkable achievement. 

"Of course, there remains work to be done and all of us have a role to play in keeping the people of Japan and the Games participants safe. 

"This is the unifying power of the Games. 

"It brings the world together through shared Olympic values and reminds us all that we are stronger together during difficult times."

Tokyo 2020 is finally due to begin with the Opening Ceremony  ©Getty Images
Tokyo 2020 is finally due to begin with the Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

ANOC's Technical Working Group gathered feedback from NOCs which was shared with both the IOC and Tokyo 2020 as they prepared to host the rearranged Games.

"The last 18 months have been very challenging for NOCs and their athletes, just as they have for people all around the world," said ANOC secretary general Gunilla Lindberg. 

"Throughout this tough period, sport and athletes have provided relief and inspiration to so many. 

"NOCs have shown great resilience in overcoming challenges and have found ways to support their teams so that they arrive in Tokyo ready to compete at their very best. 

"At ANOC we have tried to assist the NOCs as much as possible and we will continue to do so throughout the Games. 

"The feedback we have received from NOCs in Tokyo so far has been very positive and we cannot wait to see athletes compete in what we are sure will be a fantastic Games. 

"We wish all NOCs the very best of luck."