TOKYO, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Olympic gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi will be the first athlete from Japan to carry the flame on its journey to next year's Tokyo Olympic Games, the organizing committee announced on Monday.
Noguchi, the winner of the women's marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics, will be the second runner to take part in the Greek leg of the torch relay, and will receive the flame on March 12 following a lighting ceremony in Olympia, site of the ancient Olympic Games.
The ceremony begins an eight-day torch relay through Greece, before the flame is handed over to Games organizers in Athens on March 19.
"I am very grateful to be a torchbearer in Greece, which is a special place to me. It will have been 16 years since I first visited Greece for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004," Noguchi said in a statement.
"Appreciating the value of the Olympic torch relay, I will pass on the flame with my great memory from Athens 2004 and my hopes for the coming 2020 Tokyo Olympics."
According to organizers, the Japan leg of the torch relay will begin in Fukushima Prefecture on March 26, and will pass through each of Japan's 47 prefectures as it travels to the Olympic opening ceremony on July 24.