- The Olympic torch relay for the Summer Games in Tokyo began a year late – due to the corona pandemic, however, without spectators and including technical problems.
In Fukushima, Japan, the torch relay for the Summer Olympic Games began on Thursday. Because of the corona pandemic, no viewers were allowed to attend the ceremony, instead, it was broadcast live. “This little flame has never lost hope and has been waiting for this day like a cherry blossom bud that is about to bloom,” said Japanese head of the Games, Seiko Hashimoto. Shortly after the start, however, the stream failed for the first time.
The rose gold, cherry blossom-shaped Olympic torch was lit in the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima, which was used as an operations center after the triple disaster in 2011. Ten years after the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, the start of the torch relay in Fukushima should also remind the world of the progress made in rebuilding the region.
“A ray of light at the end of the dark – Olympic Games”
She hopes the Olympic flame will serve as “a ray of light at the end of darkness,” said Hashimoto. Members of the Japanese women’s national soccer team lit the torch on the Olympic flame, which has been in Japan since last year. Members of the Japanese women’s national soccer team made the start. They appeared in white sports suits.
In surveys, a majority of the Japanese had recently spoken out against hosting the Olympic Games this year because of the ongoing pandemic. The games and thus the torch relay had been postponed for a year due to the pandemic. Several prominent torchbearers had backed out over concerns that the virus would spread. Around 10,000 torchbearers are to carry the flame through all 47 prefectures in 121 days before the games open on July 23 and are to be played until August 8.
However, due to the ongoing corona pandemic, this is only possible with considerable restrictions. The population was encouraged to follow the start and the torch relay only on the Internet. As long as there is no overcrowding, citizens can watch from the roadside wearing masks near their houses. But the audience should only clap, but not cheer the runners out loud. If there are excessive crowds, the run threatens to be aborted.
source used News agencies afp and dpa