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Olympic flame handed over to Japanese delegation

The Olympic flame has been handed over, by proxy, to Tokyo organizers in Athens.

The coronavirus outbreak forced a bare-bones version of the usual elaborate ceremony in the stadium where the first modern Olympics were staged in 1896.

The 80,000-seat marble stadium was empty apart from a handful of officials and participants. The Japanese delegation was absent because of travel restrictions and Tokyo organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori delivered a speech by video from Japan. But his message was upbeat.

Mori says “I hereby pledge that on 24 July this flame will be lit at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.”

Greek Olympic committee president Spyros Kapralos handed over the flame to a Japanese Unicef official in Athens and former Olympic swimmer Naoko Imoto. It was then headed for the airport to board the flight for Japan.

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