TOKYO, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Tokyo metropolitan government said on Friday that it has collected 16,910 applications for runners to participate in the Tokyo leg of the 2020 Olympics torch relay, more than 100 times of the 165 runners to be publicly recruited.
The 2020 Olympic Games torch relay will start in Fukushima Prefecture on March 26 next year. About 10,000 torchbearers will run roughly 200 meters each during the Japan leg of the relay, which will pass through all 47 prefectures of the country and feature major landmarks, including World Heritage sites and areas devastated by recent natural disasters such as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The torch relay in the Tokyo area itself will be held for 15 days from July 10 to July 24 next year. Among the torchbearers, 165 runners will have been recruited publicly.
According to the organizers, the applicants will know in December whether they have been chosen through a screening process based on documents they submitted earlier.
"It has become extremely competitive," Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said at a press conference. "We would like to increase the level of expectations for the Olympics and Paralympics," she added.