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Emmanuel Macron has vowed to make France a "sporting nation" ahead of and through the Paris 2024 Olympics, as the French President announced the reopening of gyms and other sports facilities.

It has also been confirmed that Macron will attend the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Visiting a gymnasium in Pont-Sainte-Marie, Macron was joined by Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, former basketball star Tony Parker and ex-footballer Laure Boulleau.

The trip marked indoor sports facilities being allowed to open following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in France.

"This resumption of sport is also the starting point of a new long-distance race which takes us until 2024," said Macron, according to French newspaper L'Union.

Macron said the Government's objective for the Games was "to bring back as many medals", and also to "really make France a sporting nation".

During the visit, Macron attended a basketball event and presented details of the "Pass Sport" - a new aid for young athletes.

It gives €50 (£43/$61) towards a child's registration fee at a sports club.

Approximately 5.4 million children will be eligible for the aid and it will be available at the start of school years, the Government says.

Maracineanu has since stated that Macron will attend the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony, making him the first Group of Seven leader - bar Japan's Prime Minister - to confirm they will head to the Games.

"The President of the Republic [Macron] will be there for the opening," Maracineanu told France Info radio.

"We have to take the Torch for Paris 2024 at the end of the Games."

Maracineanu will also attend the Games with Blanquer, under current plans.

National leaders of the next host would typically attend the Closing Ceremony as well, and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe memorably appeared at the Rio 2016 curtain call dressed as Super Mario.

The Paris 2024 Olympics will be the next Summer Games after Tokyo 2020, scheduled to take place from July 26 to August 11 in 2024.

Source: https://www.insidethegames.biz