Speed Reading — Olympic Torch Relay - Level 6 — 500 wpm

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The torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics is finally under way. The 2020 Summer Games were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic but organizers have been determined to ensure they go ahead in July. Members of the Japan women's football team ran as torchbearers in the first leg of the relay on Thursday. It began in Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the triple disasters of the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. The relay torch is made of aluminium recycled from prefabricated housing built for survivors of the triple calamity. Fukushima was chosen as the start of the relay to show the area has recovered, although many people say claims of recovery are a little premature.

The head of Japan's Olympic organizing committee, Seiko Hashimoto, opened the torch relay ceremony. She said in her opening address: "The flame will embark on a 121-day journey and will carry the hopes of the Japanese people and wishes for peace." Japanese people are being encouraged to look at live broadcasts of the relay and refrain from travelling to watch it amid fears of a spike in COVID 19 cases. Spectators must wear face masks, and are being urged to clap rather than cheer. Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated his commitment to stage a "safe and secure" Olympics in spite of the pandemic. He said: "We will do our utmost on coronavirus measures."

Comprehension questions
  1. Who was determined the Olympics would go ahead?
  2. Who ran the first leg of the relay?
  3. Where did the Olympic Torch Relay begin?
  4. What is the Olympic flame made of?
  5. What did many people say about claims of Fukushima's recovery?
  6. Who is Seiko Hashimoto?
  7. How long will the Olympic Torch Relay take?
  8. What are Japanese people being encouraged to look at?
  9. What should spectators do instead of cheer?
  10. What did Japan's Prime Minister say he is doing about coronavirus?

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