The torch relay for the postponed Tokyo Olympics began its journey across Japan on Thursday amid COVID curbs.

Iran Press/Asia: After a brief opening ceremony (which was closed to the public) on a football pitch inside the J-Village training complex, members of the Japan women’s football team began the torch’s 120-day journey through 859 locations, culminating in the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on 23 July.

The Head of the Games’ organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto said the start of the Olympic flame’s journey was a sign of hope.

“For the past year, as the entire world went through a difficult period, the Olympic flame was kept alive quietly but powerfully,” she said at the opening ceremony, which was attended by a small number of dignitaries.

“The small flame did not lose hope, and just like the cherry blossom buds that are ready to bloom, it was waiting for this day.”

The relay bore little resemblance to those that have preceded every summer Olympics since it was first held at the Berlin Games in 1936.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was postponed for the first time in their history.

On September 7, 2013, the International Olympic Committee awarded the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in 2020 to Tokyo, which was chosen over fellow Candidate Cities Istanbul and Madrid after two rounds of voting during the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires.

Tokyo 2020 became the first Olympics ever postponed in peacetime as the coronavirus wreaked havoc across the globe, claiming lives and forcing the cancelation of sporting and cultural events.

The Olympics have previously only been canceled completely during periods of World War - in 1916, 1940, and 1944 - but never suspended or postponed. 


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