Raffaele Chiulli has praised the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for promoting friendship ©Getty Images

The President of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) Raffaele Chiulli has praised the success of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics and celebrated the Games' role in promoting friendship between countries, people and cultures as part of the United Nations (UN) International Day of Friendship.

Celebrated annually on July 30, the UN International Day of Friendship encourages people around the world to connect with friends.

"In a world where we often face challenges, and particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, friendship is more important now than ever before," said Chiulli.

"I am therefore delighted that this year’s edition of the International Day of Friendship falls during what has so far been a hugely successful Olympic Games in Tokyo, a truly global celebration of perseverance, inclusion and friendship. 

"I have no doubt that these special moments will inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities around the world for generations to come."

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics started last Friday (July 23) and are set to end on August 8.

The UN International Day of Friendship was first declared on July 27 2011 at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly.