The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has congratulated the organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the start of the Olympic torch relay on Thursday. The torch relay kicked off in Fukushima, Japan, and will now move across all 47 prefectures in Japan over the next few months.
The Olympic flame reached Japan last year after it was lit in Ancient Olympia in Greece, using the same method that had been in use during the Ancient Olympics.
The torch relay will finally arrive for the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics in the Japanese capital on 23rd July this year. OC President Thomas Bach said:
“Earlier today, the world watched with great enthusiasm how the Olympic flame began its journey around Japan. Congratulations to the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese people for this achievement."
He further added in this regard:
"Inspired by the Olympic values of peace and solidarity, the Olympic Torch Relay will carry Tokyo 2020’s message, ‘hope lights our way’, across Japan and the world. It will also acknowledge the challenges faced by society since last year, highlighting the importance of unity and solidarity within humankind, showing that we can only become stronger – together.”
For the entire route of the Olympic Torch Relay, you can click here
Japan women’s football team were the first torchbearers of the Olympic Torch Relay
The Japanese women’s football team, who won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, were the first torchbearers on Thursday. They handed over the flame to 16-year-old Owada Asato, a native of Fukushima.
Torchbearers have been selected from each of the 47 prefectures in Japan. They come from a wide array of backgrounds and you can read more about the featured torchbearers here.
Singer Rika Takamori 'Riu', surfer and lifeguard Sato Hiroshi, Paralympian athlete Yano Shigeki, and Chinese woman Hou Jiayi are among those who have been selected as the torchbearers for the Tokyo Olympics.
You can also watch the entire Olympic torch relay over the next few months on the Tokyo 2020 website.