Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron as the Tokyo Games opened on Friday after a year’s pandemic delay and lingering coronavirus threats.

Osaka lifted the torch to the gleaming cauldron, which had unfurled at the top of a ramp representing Mount Fuji, in the highlight of a ceremony that was stripped back over virus fears.

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito officially opened the Games in an eerily empty Olympic Stadium, after Covid-19 forced organisers to ban spectators at all but a handful of venues.

Osaka was handed the torch by a group of children from the region around Fukushima which was devastated by a tsunami and a nuclear disaster in 2011. It was an uplifting moment in a low-key ceremony.

In another high point, nearly 2,000 synchronised drones formed a revolving globe over the stadium, to a cover version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

Here’s a look at some of the best images

Indian contingent at the Opening Ceremony | AFP
Tennis star Osaka lights Tokyo Olympics cauldron | AFP
The athlete training alone, a symbolic performance showing the pandemic struggles | Twitter/@Olympics
Tonga flag bearer Malia Paseka and Pita Taufatofua lead their contingent | Reuters
1,824 drones light up the sky | Twitter/@Olympics