Amidst coronavirus pandemic, 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers received the Olympics flame in a handover ceremony in Athens, Greece.
In a brief ceremony, the Tokyo Games representative Naoko Imoto received the torch at the Panathenaic stadium, site of the first modern Games in 1896, which was closed for spectators. It will arrive in Japan today and the domestic relay will start on 26 March. The Olympics games will kickstart from 26 July to 9 August in the Japanese capital of Tokyo.
Greece’s Olympic Committee chief Spyros Capralos handed over the lit torch to the Japanese former Olympic swimmer Imoto in an empty Panathenaic stadium. The flame will travel to Japan aboard a special aircraft named Tokyo 2020 Go.
The Olympic flame is on its way to #Tokyo2020 🔥
Tokyo Organizing committee representative Naoko Imoto has received the flame and it will now be transported to Miyagi prefecture in a specially designed #Tokyo2020 lantern. 🇯🇵#OlympicTorchRelay #UnitedByEmotion pic.twitter.com/963rIXeGtQ
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 19, 2020
With over 2.5 lakh people affected by COVID-19 and more than 10,000 deaths reported globally, people are questioning whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take place or not. Still, the International Olympics committee (IOC) have insisted for the games to go on as planned.
The IOC hopes that the arrival of the Olympics flame will shake off the dark clouds hanging over the world.
Hope has begun lighting our way in Japan. 🔥 #OlympicTorchRelay
The flame will now be exhibited in the Tohoku Region, one of the areas most affected by the 2011 earthquake, sharing its message of recovery and the relay concept of #HopeLightsOurWay for #Tokyo2020. pic.twitter.com/T7pvgeTJCn
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) March 20, 2020