The Tokyo segment of the Olympic torch relay kicked off with a small ceremony held behind closed doors on Friday, local media reported.

With just two weeks to go until the start of the games, the flame was handed to Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike at the Komazawa Olympic Park stadium, Kyodo News reported.

The event was held a day after Japan announced that no spectators will be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

“Due to the impact of the novel coronavirus, the flame was sometimes impossible to be carried on public roads. But by overcoming the difficult situation with strong wishes of everyone across the country and various means, it has been connected to this point as a way of hope,” Koike said at the ceremony.

“I’d like (torchbearers in Tokyo) to put their respective feelings into the flame and surely connect it to the Olympic stadium.”

The Olympics, which pushed ahead from last year because of the pandemic, will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8, followed by the Paralympic Games from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

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