Roll on the 2020 Olympics – Flame lands in Japan

By Luke Will | March 20, 2020

Despite worldwide lockdowns and social distancing due to coronavirus , Japan’s Government continues to maintain the stance that the XXXII Olympiad (2020 Olympics), due to be held in Tokyo, Japan, will go ahead as planned – A move much criticised, including by former Tokyo Governor.

A special transport aircraft carrying the iconic Olympic Flame touched down at the Matsushima Air Self-Defence Base in Miyagi, northeastern Japan, shortly after 0930am on Friday 20 March 2020 arriving 90 minutes earlier than scheduled. The flight touched down having been lit in the ancient ruins of Olympia, Greece, on 12 March, earlier in the week.

The country’s Aircraft Aerobatic team commemorated the occasion with a flypast in Olympic smoke colours | (c) Olympic Channel

A small commemorative ceremony was held at the base, with the Air Self-Defense Force’s aerobatic display team flying in formation, drawing five large circles in the sky above the base, in colored smoke representing the Olympic rings. Meeting the flame was Judoist ‘Tadahiro Momura’ and wrestler ‘Saori Yoshida’ – both three time Olympic champions – using it to light a small cauldron. From here, the 2020 Torch Relay shall begin on 26 March travelling across the country to host city, Tokyo.

The nation-wide torch relay shall now begin from 26 March | (c) Tokyo Government

But will the games even happen?

Speaking on Thursday this week, Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, said that cancelling the Games setto open on 24 July would be “unthinkable,” but added that the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to declare the outbreak a pandemic would have some impact on the event. Further resistance was added by the Organising Committee’s Chief, Yoshiro Mori, who labelled claims that the International Olympic Committee might have to intervene as “outrageous”.

Despite this resistance from country and organising committee chiefs, the global affects of the Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, continue to be felt worldwide with over 960 cases and 30 deaths in the country, and a further 260,000 cases worldwide.  Speaking out, ICO member Hayley Wickenheiser said:

From an athlete perspective, I can only imagine and try to empathise with the anxiety and heartbreak athletes are feeling right now. Athletes can’t train, attendees can’t travel plan. Sponsors and marketers can’t market with any degree of sensitivity. I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.”

The state of the 2020 Games is left in uncertainty | (c) Forbes

Travel Radar Media continue monitoring the 2020 Olympics carefully.

What are your thoughts on the 2020 Olympics? Should they go ahead as planned? Let us know in the comments below.

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