Olympics-Eiffel Tower turns flag-bearer for Paris 2024 ahead of Tokyo handover

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FILE PHOTO: Tighter measures against spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris

(Reuters) - A massive Paris 2024 flag was unfurled at the top of the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday as the French capital stepped up its preparations for the handover ceremony at the end of the Tokyo Olympics.

The official handover of the Olympic flag will be one of the highlights of the Games' closing ceremony, which will take place at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium on Aug. 8.

To celebrate the Olympics back in France, Paris 2024 organisers will open an open space offering sports and festive activities at the Trocadero Gardens throughout the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The large-scale test conducted on Tuesday on the Eiffel Tower offered an early taste of things to expect from the handover ceremony.

"Less than 50 days before the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games, we are thinking of our Japanese counterparts and looking forward to the start of the Games, which we have all missed so much," Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet said.

"Just like the Olympic and Paralympic athletes, Paris 2024 is also getting ready for Tokyo.

"Today was just a test, but we are sending an invitation to the French public and the whole world to join us on August 8th for the first Paris 2024 ceremony."

The Tokyo 2020 Games, which were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to begin July 23.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)