Olympics

2011 Women's World Cup champion squad being eyed to open Japan torch relay: sources

Kyodo

The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is considering members of Nadeshiko Japan, soccer’s 2011 Women’s World Cup champion, as candidates to open the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay in March, sources said Friday.

The members of the team, captained by Homare Sawa, are regarded as a good fit for the role, the sources said.

Nadeshiko Japan won the tournament in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that struck Tohoku in March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear disaster.

Organizers have dubbed the 2020 Tokyo Games “the Reconstruction Olympics” in a bid to showcase the country’s recovery from 2011’s triple disaster.

The Japan segment of the relay will begin March 26 at J-Village in Fukushima Prefecture.

The national team soccer training center has become a symbol of reconstruction as it fully reopened in April. From 2011, the training center had been used as an operational base for dealing with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was crippled in the March 11 disaster.

On Thursday, the sources revealed that Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi, the Athens Olympic women’s marathon champion, will likely be the first Japanese to carry the Olympic flame.

The flame is scheduled to be lit in Greece on March 12.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5