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Tokyo 2020 Games organizers receive Olympic flame in scaled-down ceremony in Athens

Tokyo 2020 Games organizers receive Olympic flame in scaled-down ceremony in Athens

Tokyo 2020 organizers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on Thursday, amid the coronavirus spread that has cast doubt on the global event.

In a brief ceremony closed to spectators in Athens’ Panathenaic Stadium, the site of the first modern Games in 1896, the torch was received by Tokyo Games representative Naoko Imoto.

It will arrive in Japan on Friday and kick off a domestic relay on March 26, with the Games set to take place from July 24-August 9. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Japanese government have insisted the Games will go ahead, Reuters said.

Greece’s Olympic Committee chief, Spyros Capralos, handed over the torch to former Japanese Olympic swimmer Imoto in front of empty stands inside the 50,000-capacity stadium. Only a few dozen officials were allowed into the central Athens stadium as the country has imposed strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.