Japan marks 2 years to go before 2020 Olympic Games

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Tokyo, July 24 (IANS) People across Japan on Tuesday marked two years to go before the opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympic Games. Despite an unusual heat wave, hundreds of people attended a countdown ceremony on Tuesday evening at a square around Tokyo Skytree, the world’s tallest broadcasting tower which was lit up in the Olympic colours.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said at the ceremony that it’s important to speed up preparations for the Olympics, reports Xinhua news agency.

Rikako Ikee, who finished fifth in the women’s 100-meter butterfly at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, said that she hoped to win a medal two years later with the support of her people.

As a heat wave continued to scorch Japan on Tuesday, taking dozens of lives, officials also pledged to make more preparations to prevent heatstroke during the Olympic events two years later.

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“We will make our best efforts on the premise that it will also be so hot two years from now,” Shunichi Suzuki, minister in charge of the Olympics, has been quoted as saying.

Earlier in the day, a 1,000-kilometre citizens’ relay kicked off in the city of Aomori and will finish at Komazawa Olympic Park in Tokyo on August 7.

The relay, featuring some 1,600 participants, will connect with Tokyo cities in northeastern Japan that had been devastated by the 2011 deadly earthquake and tsunami.

The 2020 Olympic Games, the second to be hosted by Tokyo, will begin on July 24, 2020, featuring a record 33 sports and 339 events.

–IANS

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