Naomi Osaka provides spark at tentative opening of Tokyo Olympics

Ceremony began as the most downbeat in Olympic history but finished in spectacular fashion

Tokyo Olympics – live updates

Amid the darkness of the Tokyo skyline, a moment of hope and raging illumination. After nearly four hours of an opening ceremony that veered from the sombre to the spectacular, the Olympic flame was passed to the face of these Games, Naomi Osaka. As the steps of the Mount Fuji stage opened up before her, Japan’s globally recognised tennis star jogged towards the summit, nodded, and then set the cauldron – and perhaps these troubled Tokyo 2020 Olympics – alight.

It was the culmination of a ceremony that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, promised would offer a “moment of hope” in a Covid-riven world.

Related: Eleven outstanding moments from the Olympic opening ceremony | Martin Belam

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