Japan kicked off the 2012 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Kakamigahara in grand style this morning with an opening ceremony to welcome all the participants in the event.
The ceremony was an extravaganza with fireworks, a marching band, dancers and a flyover by five Japanese military planes.
Fans in the stadium were treated to the two flyovers from the jets, which are stationed at Gifu Airforce Base located within a kilometer of the stadium. Following the flyover the Japanese set off fireworks to officially start the ceremony.
Members of the Organizing Committee and Kakamigahara government were on hand to formally welcome all the teams, which marched in a procession while the marching band honored them with a festive song.
At the end of ceremony the teams departed the field and prepared to battle for the last two places at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The tournament begins today with all six women’s teams in action. Opening the tournament will be Chile vs. Belarus, that game will be followed by host Japan, and tournament favorite taking on lowest-seeded Austria. The day will conclude with Azerbaijan facing Malaysia.
The men’s tournament begins tomorrow with all six teams playing their first round robin games of the tournament. The highlight of tomorrow’s game will be host Japan taking on the Czech Republic.