Japanese athletes help launch official Tokyo 2020 video game

Joined by past Olympians, Harimoto Tomokazu was among the hopefuls getting a virtual taste of next summer's Games.

By Shintaro Kano ·

Japan's top athletes can't wait for next summer's Olympic Games to roll around so they did it themselves. Virtually, that is.

Japanese Olympians past and present went head-to-head in the official video game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and you can watch it here through 10 October 2021.

The 10th of October is the date of the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo 1964.

Harimoto Tomokazu (Photo by AFLO SPORTS/JOC)

Tokyo 2020-bound table tennis star Harimoto Tomokazu was among the stars who took part in the charity event organised by the Japanese Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission.

Proceeds will go to aiding children as well as athletes in need during the global pandemic through the JOC.

"I may have lost today but I'll be sure to win next year", said Harimoto who paired up with Hirano Miu against Rio 2016 bronze medallist Fukuhara Ai and her husband Chiang Hung-chieh who represented Chinese Taipei in Rio.

"More than ever, I have to make every day count and I will continue to work".

Kiryu Yoshihide, left, and Koike Yuki have a laugh - for now (Photo by AFLO SPORTS/JOC).

Others likely headed for the Games who participated in the event were: judoka siblings Abe Hifumi and Uta; sport climbers Noguchi Atsuyo and Narasaki Tomoa, two of Japan's best medal bets next summer; and sprinters Kiryu Yoshihide and Koike Yuki, who share Japan's second-fastest time in the men's 100 meters at 9.98 seconds.

Former Olympians were also on hand - current men's head coach Inoue Kosei (gold, Sydney 2000) and Shinohara Shinichi (silver, Sydney 2000) from judo, and swimmer Matsuda Takeshi (silver, bronze from Beijing 2008 to Rio 2016).

JOC President Yamashita Yasuhiro was pleased to see his athletes already in the Games spirit.

"I was never really into gaming so I was a little anxious, worried before I got here", Yamashita said. "But watching them play, compete was tremendous fun.

"The atmosphere in the game was very well done, really exciting. That is the kind of atmosphere I want to see at what I hope will be fantastic competitions in the Olympics and Paralympics next year".

Narasaki Tomoa and Noguchi Atsuyo test the Tokyo 2020 wall (Photo by AFLO SPORTS/JOC).