Spyros Capralos, left, has been honoured with the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun ©ANOC

European Olympic Committees and Hellenic Olympic Committee President Spyros Capralos has been awarded with the Order of the Rising Sun by Japan.

The award is one of the most important distinctions of the Japanese state and was given to Capralos following a decision by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Yoshimasa Hayashi "for his contribution to the highly successful organisation of the Olympic Games in Tokyo."

"This is a great honour for me," said Capralos, an International Olympic Committee member.

"It is something special, as special were the Olympic Games you organised in Tokyo.

"The Japanese people in extremely difficult conditions such as the ones we live, carried out the Games with great success, when this mission seemed impossible to fulfil.

"To gather so many people under these conditions is something that only people like the Japanese with discipline, determination and passion for sports can achieve."

It was presented to Capralos by the Ambassador of Japan to Greece Yasunori Nakayama in a dedicated ceremony at the Ambassador's residence in Athens.

"The government of my country decided to award Mr Capralos as a sign of recognition for his great contribution to the success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games," said Nakayama.

"With his continuous efforts and the decisions he made, the lighting ceremony and the handover ceremony of the Olympic Flame were successfully organised with safety measures due to the pandemic, while his support for the organisation of the Olympic Games was unstoppable."