STOKE MANDEVILLE, England (AP) — The Paralympic Heritage Flame was lit Thursday in Stoke Mandeville, a village northwest of London that is widely considered the birthplace of the Paralympic Games.

The cauldron was lit during a ceremony in the small village in Buckinghamshire, where the Stoke Mandeville Games were first held in 1948 for a small group of wheelchair athletes. Those later grew into the first Paralympic Games, which took place in Rome in 1960.

The ceremony was the international leg of the Paralympic torch relay taking place in Japan.

The Tokyo Paralympics open on Aug. 24 in a ceremony at Tokyo’s National Stadium. They will feature about 4,400 athletes.

The Paralympics close on Sept. 5.

The Heritage Flame ceremony in Stoke Mandeville was first held ahead of the London Paralympics in 2012.


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