Tokyo: A year after the coronavirus delay, the Tokyo Olympics torch relay kickstarted on Thursday, heralding a major step towards the start of the games on July 23. The rose gold, cherry blossom shaped Olympic torch was lit at the J-Village Sports complex in Fukushima, which served as a base for operations responding to the 2011 nuclear disaster.
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Speaking on the start of the event, Tokyo 2020 chief Seiko Hashimoto said she hoped the Olympic flame would serve as “a ray of light at the end of the darkness”.
This year, the national relay as well as the Olympics, will be totally different from its previous editions, with spectators banned from cheering and away from the launch over coronavirus concerns.
Fans will be able to line the route and clap as the flame traverses the country, borne by 10,000 runners and passing through all 47 prefectures before arriving at Tokyo’s National Stadium for the July 23 opening ceremony.
But parts of the relay could be suspended if too many spectators gather in one place, and masks are mandatory for onlookers.