TSUNAMI VICTIM TO FEATURE IN TOKYO 2020 TORCH RELAY

BY LIAM MORGAN

A father, whose 12-year-old daughter was killed in the 2011 Japan tsunami, will participate in the Torch Relay for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Noriyuki Suzuki, who lost daughter Mai in the tsunami triggered by the earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku, told Kyodo News he had been chosen as one of the Torchbearers.

The Torch Relay for the Olympics is due to begin in Fukushima, struck by one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit Japan when an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster in 2011, on March 19.

Around 16,000 people lost their lives and Tokyo 2020 organisers, and the International Olympic Committee, are attempting to use the Games to aid the recovery of the region.

Mai Suzuki was in the sixth grade at Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

She is among the 74 pupils from the school to have been confirmed dead or missing following the tsunami.

“I’m really glad (to be selected),” Suzuki said

“I was worried that I might not be chosen.

“I’m hoping the spirits of all the children who died, not just Mai’s, will join me when I run.”

Over half of the 10,000 Torchbearers during the Relay, which will travel across Japan before arriving in Tokyo two weeks before the Opening Ceremony on July 24, are expected to be chosen from the general public.

The list of Torchbearers will be announced after confirmation by the relevant authorities.

Japan rugby captain Michael Leitch, sumo grand champion Hakuho and Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara are among the high-profile figures set to carry the Torch.