As the torch relay starts, the Tokyo Olympics is happening!
The news of torch relay kicking off is bound to build on their excitement and eagerness to go into Tokyo Olympics with all guns blazing.
Hope was there all along! Even when the coronavirus was looming large; when sporting events around the world were cancelled and when everyone went indoors, the world still held on to something that had waited for four years. The biggest sporting spectacle needs no introduction. The run-up to the Tokyo Olympics has officially begun. With Indian sportspersons qualifying every week for several events, news of the torch relay kicking off is bound to build on their excitement and eagerness to go into the competition with all guns blazing.
10,000 runners, 121 days and crossing over 47 prefectures of Japan, the torch will make its way beginning from the district of Fukushima. However, the significance of this years torch relay for the world and Japan is immense. A lot has gone on behind the scenes to ensure the world still has 'hope'.
Apart from the prelude to the Olympics, there is one very significant role that the torch relay plays this time. It has been taken seriously on medical grounds as this is the first major national event and mass gathering that will take place since the Covid pandemic hit Japan. Any lapses in social distancing, sanitisation, wearing masks or adherence to rules that could lead to a rise in cases have to be avoided at all costs. Japan too has seen several surges and dips in cases over the past few months. As it stands today, the country aims to completely subdue any chances of the virus spreading again prior to the arrival of athletes that shall commence in the next few months. Ironically, it was around the time the torch relay began last year that the Olympics were postponed indefinitely, the first time it had happened since 1896.
Japan has been affected heavily on the economic front over the past year. The estimated cost of conducted the Olympics has been put at 15 billion dollars although several reports have put the figure to be much higher by weighing in several other factors. Public opinion regarding the Olympics has been marred with calls to cancel or delay the event further. Protests and polls have echoed the sentiment of several people who have been affected by the virus and the economic slowdown. As a result, the motto for the relay, "Hope Leads The Way" is one that aims to transform a lot of the negativity surrounding the event into a more positive outlook towards this years Olympics. The message has been put across with more relevance by making sure the relay begins from Fukushima, the prefecture that was ravaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Citizens have felt that relief efforts were affected because of all the attention diverted to the Olympics. The organisers have thereby aimed to not take away the attention of relief building efforts that are going on in Fukushima and have centred the focus of the relay in the affected area.
Hence by ensuring there is adequate medical care taken along with keeping the best interests of the citizens of the country in mind, Japan has taken it upon itself to give the world the best possible start to the Olympics. The torch flame will carry the hopes and faith of several athletes and citizens as it traverses across the Land of the Rising Sun, and it shall be the start of an event the world has been waiting for all along.