The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Paralympic and Olympic Games (Tokyo 2020) announced on Monday (28 September) an outline of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay planned for 2021.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay will be held from 12 – 24 August 2021, during the transition period from the Olympic Games to the Paralympic Games. It will aim to create a festive atmosphere in the run-up to the Paralympic Games while maintaining the momentum generated by the Olympic Games.
In line with the Torch Relay concept “Share Your Light,” in principle three people who are meeting each other for the first time will come together to form teams of runners. The hope is that the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will offer people an opportunity to reflect on a new partnership between people and people and society helping to promote a more inclusive society.
Outline of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay
The scheduled dates for each prefecture in 2021 will be one day earlier than the originally scheduled dates in 2020; i.e. the days of the week will match the previous schedule. From 12 August, flame lighting festivals will be held in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
The individual flames will be brought together and become a single Paralympic Flame at a flame gathering event in Tokyo on 20 August, when they will be combined with a flame that will have been lit at a Heritage Flame lighting event at Stoke Mandeville in Great Britain, the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement.
The Flame will then tour the capital in the climax of the Paralympic Torch Relay from 21- 24 August, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Details of the schedule for each prefecture are provided in the appendix.
Going forward, Tokyo 2020 will coordinate with the authorities in each prefecture regarding the detailed schedule of Flame lighting festivals, departure ceremonies and other ceremonies along the route of the Relay. In addition, the Organising Committee will coordinate with the International Paralympic Committee regarding the outline of the lighting ceremony in Stoke Mandeville. Details of the flame lighting festivals in Stoke Mandeville and in each municipality in Japan will be announced in due course.
In principle, the same local municipalities in Shizuoka Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture and Tokyo will manage the Paralympic Torch Relay segments in 2021. The planned route and other aspects of the Relay in each municipality may be reviewed in the light of the COVID-19 situation.
In principle there will be no changes to the plans announced for the Relay originally scheduled for this year. There will be around 1,000 torchbearers selected from among those who had applied as of February 2020, and they will run in groups of three. Tokyo 2020 will separately announce a detailed schedule which will include the individual torchbearers’ assigned groups and sectors.
Simplification of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay
In cooperation with all Games officials and stakeholders, the rescheduled Paralympic Games will be a ‘simplified Games.' Tokyo 2020 has therefore been looking at how a more simplified and efficient Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch Relay can be staged. The points being discussed include:
- Slimming down the size of the vehicle convoys.
- Simplifying the Departure ceremonies at the Torch Relay venues in Shizuoka, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, and the Celebration event in Tokyo, by reviewing the decorations and equipment provided at venues.
- Improving the efficiency of other aspects of the Relay operation and preparations for the Relay, including a review of the number of officials and other staff involved.
Countermeasures against COVID-19 during the Paralympic Torch Relay
Tokyo 2020 is reviewing a number of COVID-19 countermeasures for the Torch Relay consulting with the experts and the health authority in the aim of ensuring a safe and secure event, and the Organising Committee are planning to announce details as soon as these have been decided.