After being canceled or postponed due to the influence of the new coronavirus, the National Sports Festival "Ichigo Ichie Tochigi National Athletic Meet", which was held for the first time in three years, opened on the 1st, and the opening ceremony was held in Utsunomiya City with the presence of the Emperor and Empress. was done.

At the Tochigi Prefectural Sports Park Athletics Stadium in Utsunomiya City, the opening ceremony was held with Their Majesties watching, who visited the countryside for the first time in about two years and eight months.

Following the celebratory flight by the Air Self-Defense Force's "Blue Impulse" flight team, about 1,600 athletes from all over the country marched into each prefecture, and finally, the local Tochigi Prefecture athletes entered, and from the venue A big round of applause was sent.

His Majesty the Emperor encouraged them by saying, "While experiencing the wonders of sports once again, develop mutual friendships, cherish once-in-a-lifetime chances with the local people of Tochigi Prefecture, and create wonderful memories."

After that, the torch, which is the Olympic torch, was lit on a stand designed with strawberries, a specialty of Tochigi Prefecture.

Finally, sports climber Chia Narasaki and hockey player Miki Kitsunezuka, who participated in last year's Tokyo Olympics as Tochigi Prefecture representatives, said, "Thank you to all the people involved and those who supported the event, taking all possible measures to prevent infection. I vow to compete to deliver courage, excitement, and energy,” said the athlete.

The "Tochigi National Athletic Meet" will be held for 11 days, including spectators, in principle, with thorough infection control measures for the new corona, and about 19,000 athletes will participate.