The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Monday announced that the Olympic Torch Relay will start its journey on March 25, 2021, from the J-Village National Training Centre in Fukushima Prefecture, and then traverse all 47 prefectures across Japan over a period of 121 days.
In principle, the route and the schedule of the Relay will remain as originally planned, the IOC said.
As 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay will aim to showcase the recovery of the areas worst affected by the disaster, in line with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay concept of "Hope Lights Our Way."
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will additionally symbolise the light at the end of the current dark tunnel; a beacon of hope for the world in the run-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games, themselves a symbol of the resilience, unity and solidarity of humankind.
The torch will reach Tokyo on July 9 in time for the flame to light the cauldron in the Olympic Stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the Games on July 23.
As part of the simplification efforts for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, after the one-year delay due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Grand Start of the Relay and other ceremonies will be scaled back, as will the number of operational staff. COVID-19 countermeasures for the Relay will be announced at a later date, after full consultation with experts and the public health authorities.
Those previously confirmed as Olympic torchbearers will be given preference to run in next year's Relay, the Tokyo 2020 orgsers have said. Around 10,000 torchbearers are set to take part.
( With inputs from ANI )
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