WEDNESDAY 14 APRIL MARKS A SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT IN THE BUILD-UP OF THE TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES. ONLY 100 DAYS REMAIN UNTIL THE OPENING CEREMONY, THE COUNTDOWN HAS WELL.
The Olympic torch is lit, the stadiums are mostly complete and the athletes are in the final stages of their training and qualification, and as the sporting world comes together on Wednesday 14th April to celebrate 100-day countdown to the Games, so are they preparing for a unique Olympics due to the new world order of covid-19.”
The grand start of the Olympic Torch Relay in Japan’s northeastern prefecture Fukushima on Thursday 25th March marked the beginning of a four month-journey towards the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Games on 23 July 2021.
The ceremony was awash in flowers and welcome bloom as the residents of Japan called out to the world a message of warmth. Iwashimizu Azusa, key player of the Japanese women’s football team that won the World Cup in 2011, being the first runner with the torch.Fukushima Prefecture was the perfect venue for the torch relay to begin its four-month countdown to the Tokyo Olympics, a year later than expected due to a postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the area was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011.
The effects of the ensuing tsunami and nuclear disaster are still felt there to this day. The city, though, has become a symbol of hardship and resilience, tragedy and triumph.In Tokyo, meanwhile, preparations are continuing apace. With the venues now 100-percent complete and most of them having been put through their paces at test events, the visual look of the Games is quickly taking shape, adding to the belief that the city is now ready to play host to the world’s finest athletes starting 23rd July.
Back in Kenya, 87 athletes have already booked their places at Tokyo 2020, with the likes of marathon legend, Eliud Kipchoge, to the recent sensation Brigid Kosgei, from boxing icon ‘Commander’ Nick Okoth to the volleyball queens Malkia Strikers, from the new kid on the block, Faith Ogallo making her first world event debut to the men and women with wheels, the Kenya Shujaa and Kenya Lionesses, set to grace the big stage in 100 days’ time.While it is confirmed that the Kenyan colours will be represented in various disciplines in six sports, the qualification process is still ongoing for a number of sports, including swimming, athletics, sports shooting, karate, judo, weightlifting and beach volleyball.
Enthusiasm is rising among the home athletes. Speaking with Volleyball, Malkia Strikers Captain Mercy Moim, who expressed her feeling on what qualification for the Olympics means to her and the entire team, she says, “There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the court. If you work hard, things will work out.’’ Neither could the Seychelles based volleyball player Jane Wacu who plays for Club Arsu, camouflage her happiness towards qualifying for Tokyo Olympics, “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication and self-discipline.”
As the final competition rosters start to take shape and the Olympic Flame makes its way around the host nation, Tokyo’s dream of hosting the Games will become a reality.Olympics Kenya is also optimistic to present the best athletes to the Olympics irrespective of the covid-19 situation, with the hopes of bagging more medals as compared to the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Rio was the most successful Kenyan outing, with a medal haul of 13 medals – 6 Gold; 6 silver and 1 bronze.The preparations are in top gear, to support athletes to perform well, there are high performance bubble camps in Nairobi and Uasin Gishu, to ensure the athletes continue training in a safe environment.The Team Kenya official campaign slogan as we unveil the 100 days’ to Tokyo is #YouAreTheReason. Aimed at being the rallying call for support of the team by all Kenyas, whose main message is bringing cohesion between the athletes and the citizens at large, because when the Kenyan anthem is played infront of a global audience of 3.6 million during the Olymmpics, it is not the individual athletes win, it is a Kenyan win.