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  1. Equestrian rider Lee Pearson carries flag for GB
  2. More than 4,300 athletes take part

Live Reporting

By Amy Lofthouse and Nate Williams

All times stated are UK

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Let the Games begin

The heart at the centre of the Maracana
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Well, that had a bit of everything: plenty of fun, colour and fireworks.

For the next 10 days, we've got you and your Paralympics needs covered. There's live coverage on BBC Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra, with Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Jonathan Overend leading the way.

We'll also be tapping away until the small hours to bring you live text commentary every day.

You can work out when you need to set those alarms for here. Until tomorrow!

Aaron Wheelz
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Ticker tape comes down onto a cast of more than 2,000, and there's one last burst of fireworks as the opening ceremony finishes.

Samba, fireworks, drums and the cauldron pulsing rounds off the opening ceremony. Not even the rain can spoil this. There's a performance from Seu Jorge to close the ceremony.

The cauldron is lit! With that, the 2016 Paralympic Games are under way!

Marcia passes the flame on to Adria Rocha Santos, who completes the course and hands the torch on to the final athlete, Clodoaldo Silva. He reaches the stairs which transform into a wheelchair ramp, enabling him to reach the Paralympic cauldron.


The moment we've all been waiting for - the Paralympic flame enters the arena. It's carried by two time gold medallist, Brazil's Antonio Delfino, who hands it to Marcia Malsar. She falls, but she gets back up and the crowd rise as one to applaud her.

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Supremely good samba moves from Amy Purdy - the robot bows to her as they finish their dance. 

Here's Amy Purdy, the American snowboarder who is also a ballerina. She had her legs amputated and is performing a dance with... a robot! The dance is called 'Technology and Us.' 

What to watch on Day One

So, what's coming up?

Cyclist Dame Sarah Storey is searching for her 12th gold medal as she goes in the women's C5 pursuit at 21:12 BST.

In athletics, there could be medals for Britain's Kyron Duke in the men's F41 shot put final and Sammi Kinghorn in the women's T53 100m (16:30 & 22:54 BST). 

In the pool there's Andrew Mullen, who could challenge Brazil's Daniel Dias in the men's S5 200m freestyle (15:31 BST).

But first, we'll bring you some hoops action as GB women face a tough start against world champions Canada (13:30 BST). 

Sarah Storey
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And now the Paralympic oath, which is taken by Phelipe Andrew on behalf of all athletes.

Absolute silence around the stadium as the flag reaches the stage and the Paralympic anthem is played.

It's almost time - the Paralympic flag is carried into the stadium by a group of Brazilian children.

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The sails form the Agitos, the symbol of the Paralympics. It's right in the centre of the stadium as the fireworks light up the sky. Lovely.

We're into the final section now, which starts off by paying tribute to the familes of the athletes. Huge white sails are carried onto the stage by dancers who are fighting against the wind. The Paralympic motto is 'spirit in motion' and that is what the sails are forming.

Double backflip to kick off the Rio Paralympics? No problem for Aaron 'Wheelz' Fotheringham.

No fear: Double back flip in a wheelchair

Now a mimic of Da Vinci's Vitruvian man. The floor is transformed with some geometric shapes that surround the dancers, which eventually transforms into a human kaleidoscope. 

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Visually impaired dancers Oscar and Renata perform a perfectly-synched dance as they dance through touch alone. A tactile pavement lights up their movements.

Everything is now lit up like a rock stadium, complete with electric guitars as the soundtrack. The cast create some cool designs with the light sticks, before making way for Oscar and Renata.

Kate Grey

Two-time Paralympian on BBC Radio 5 live

We've had cheers, we've had boos and I think this just shows the passion of the Carioca people. They are here to fully support these Paralympic Games.

The Maracana has been lit up in a huge flash of white light, from a deconstructed eye. Then dancers appear, each with 'canes' made up of huge white glow sticks. This is designed to make the audience question how much we use our sight over other senses.

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Brazilian president Michel Temer is welcomed onto the stage by Sir Craven - less so by the crowd, who boo him, but he declares the games officially open.

International Paralympic Committee president Sir Phillip Craven: "Rio is powered by its people and the carioca will know what these Games will do to drive the force of inclusion."

Boos again as Craven thanks the Brazilian government, but there's more cheers as he thanks the athletes and the Brazilian people.

And here's the heart of the Paralympic Games.

A giant, beating heart made up of jigsaw pieces from the athletes at the centre of the Maracana
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President of the International Paralympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven: "The Paralympics will surrpise you, inspire you, but most of all, they will change you.

"Proud Paralympians, you are role models for what the world wants to see it today's sporting heroes."

NEVER GIVE UP- words to live by at the #Paralympics #OpeningCeremony 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Cheers again, however, as Nuzman welcomes the athletes to Rio.

"You are superhumans. You know that impossible is nothing," he says.

Massive boos from the Rio crowd as Nuzman mentions the Brazilian government. The country is having political problems at the moment and the boos have forced him to stop speaking.

President of the Rio Organizing Committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman: "We aim to build a better world where we are all able to walk hand in hand with no obstacles." 

"We are the country of impossible realisation and we have the best partners in the world."

The heartbeat at the centre of the Maracana has everlasting energy. It symbolises the message at the core of this ceremony, which is that the heart knows no limits.

The Maracana lit up in white
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Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the president of the Organizing Committee for Rio, and Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, now take centre stage.

The entire Maracana is lit up in red and black as the heart beats right at the centre. And then fireworks! Because what is an opening ceremony without some fireworks?

Rob Hatch

BBC Radio 5 live commentator

Lights from mobile phones and glow sticks are flying around the stadium. 

The theme here is that everyone has a heart.

Brazilian artist Vik Muniz fits in the final piece of the jigsaw, which is made up of the faces of all the Paralympic athletes. All the faces come together to form a beating heart, which starts beating in time to the music.

The jigsaw is the centre of the arena is just missing the final piece - the one from the Brazil athletes. There's some top-notch flag waving going on though - they've been doing that for some time now!

One of the Brazilian athletes is an excellent dancer. Nifty bit of footwork there as Brazil keep on dancing.

Missed Great Britain's entrance earlier today? Fear not, you can watch Lee Pearson lead out ParalympicsGB here.

Paralympics welcomes Great Britain to Games

And here comes the final nation, the hosts Brazil. They're led by Shirlene Coelho, and what a reception she and the team have received from a packed stadium. The music has cranked up a notch as Brazil enter, dressed in green, white and yellow.