Winter Paralympics 2018 opening ceremony photos at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea

The 2018 Winter Paralympic Games opening ceremony went off with a bang on Friday night – literally.

A record 567 athletes from 49 nations paraded into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea for what is the biggest Winter Paralympics yet.

Joany Badenhorst, 23, led the 15-person contingent which includes para-snowboarders, para-skiers and three sighted guides. The Griffith, NSW, para-snowboarder had her left leg amputated below the knee after a farming accident more than a decade ago.

“For me it’s really, really special because it’s something every athlete aspires to. And for my family back at home, when they watch me bring in it really hits home what I’m doing, who I represent and why I’m here doing what I do,” the young athlete said.

North Korea, Georgia and Tajikistan are represented for the first time.

The games will go for nine days, with it starting on Saturday.