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2020 Olympics official mascots unveiled

2020 Olympics official mascots unveiled
Tokyo 2020 Olympic mascot ‘Miraitowa’ (L) and Paralympic mascot ‘Someity’ (R) pose with children during the mascot debut event in Tokyo on Sunday. (AP)
Tokyo, Jul 22 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/23/2018 12:12:46 AM IST
The official mascots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics were unveiled at a ceremony in downtown Tokyo on Sunday.
The blue-checked mascot for the Olympics is named Miraitowa while the pink-checked Paralympic mascot will be known as Someity.
Miraitowa is a combination of the Japanese words for future and eternity while Someity comes from a popular cherry blossom variety “Someiyoshino” and echoes the English phrase “so mighty.”
The two mascots were designed by illustrator Ryo Taniguchi, who won a nationwide competition that was determined by elementary schoolchildren across Japan, with his entries clinching more than half the total votes.
“These mascots are your friends,” Tokyo 2020 organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said at the ceremony. “You have helped to pick them and across the country, I believe, 5 million children helped to pick this. And the name is also something we have picked together. So this Olympics belongs to everyone.”
The selection process involving schoolchildren was introduced to get students enthusiastic about the games while also ensuring transparency.
Organizers say the pair of futuristic characters combine tradition and innovation. The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July 24 to August 9, 2020.
“I think a very worthy name has been picked not only for Tokyo, but for Japan as well as the Olympics and Paralympics,” said Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.
After the ceremony, the mascots reappeared on a boat that cruised down the Sumida river, waving to children on the riverbank as they passed some of Tokyo’s most iconic landmarks
Heatwave raises concerns over Tokyo summer Olympics
As Japan swelters in boiling temperatures, the IOC has sought to allay fears that holding the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo might not be such a great idea. Several people died last week in a heat wave that is set to continue.
During a visit to Tokyo, head of an International Olympic Committee (IOC) inspection team, John Coates, acknowledged concerns that the heat could be a “huge challenge” for the Tokyo 2020 organizers. “We are mindful that we do have to prepare for extreme heat,” he said.
The Games are set to run from July 24 to August 9, 2020 when temperatures in central Tokyo could reach 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) and above.
The IOC’s Coates said the Japanese organizers must explore all options to deal with extreme heat. 
The marathon, for example, will be held early in the morning to avoid heat, the IOC said last Wednesday.
Tetsuo Egawa, senior director of operation strategy planning for Tokyo 2020’s organizing committee, told AFP that most concern is for non-stadium sports, citing the marathon, sailing and canoeing, and golf. “Special measures will be needed,” he said.
The Japanese government and Tokyo’s metropolitan government, for example, are planning to lay pavements that give off less surface heat and also to plant taller roadside trees alongside the route of the marathon.
When Tokyo last hosted the Olympics, in 1964, the Games were held in October to avoid the heat.

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