Coronavirus pandemic: Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch relay in Greece suspended as 'unexpectedly large crowd' gathers to watch

The Greek Olympic Committee suspended the rest of its torch relay on Friday because of the “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered in Sparta to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Associated Press March 13, 2020 20:07:52 IST
Coronavirus pandemic: Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch relay in Greece suspended as 'unexpectedly large crowd' gathers to watch

Athens: The Greek Olympic Committee suspended the rest of its torch relay on Friday because of the “unexpectedly large crowd” that gathered to watch despite repeated requests for the public to stay away to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus pandemic Tokyo Olympics 2020 torch relay in Greece suspended as unexpectedly large crowd gathers to watch

US actor Gerard Butler runs as a torchbearer during the Olympic torch relay of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the southern Greek town of Sparta on Friday. AP Photo

The committee said a large crowd had gathered to watch the flame for the Tokyo Olympics pass through the southern Greek town of Sparta. The flame was lit on Thursday at the birthplace of the games in Ancient Olympia in a pared-down ceremony.

“(We took) the difficult but essential decision to cancel the rest of the program of the flame relay on Greek territory,” the committee said.

The decision was taken in coordination with the health ministry and the International Olympic Committee, it said.

The handover of the Olympic Flame to the Tokyo organising committee will go ahead as scheduled on 19 March at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896.

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