IOC look­ing to host some 2020 Olympics events in S Korea

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOKYO: The In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) is look­ing into host­ing row­ing and ca­noe/kayak sprint events for the 2020 Sum­mer Games in South Korea if agree­ment can­not be reached to keep the venue for the races in Tokyo, Ja­panese me­dia said yes­ter­day.

Tokyo gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike, who took of­fice in Au­gust, or­dered a re­view of Olympic ex­penses that last month rec­om­mended chang­ing three venues to save money, a move crit­i­cised by the 2020 Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee and in­ter­na­tional sports of­fi­cials. One of the changes would mean mov­ing row­ing and ca­noe/kayak sprint events some 400 km (250 miles) north of Tokyo to use ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties rather than build­ing new ones in the cap­i­tal, an ef­fort to rein in costs pro­jected to hit 3 tril­lion yen ($29.15 bil­lion).

That fig­ure is some four times the ini­tial es­ti­mates made when Tokyo won the right to host Games in 2013. Both the IOC and in­ter­na­tional row­ing fed­er­a­tion favour the orig­i­nal plan to keep the venue in Tokyo, while Koike last week told Reuters this was the last chance to take steps to rein in soar­ing costs for the Games.

If they failed to reach an agree­ment on the Tokyo site, the IOC was look­ing into host­ing the events in the South Korean city of Chungju, where row­ing events were held for the 2014 Asian Games, me­dia re­ports said. IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach meets Koike later yes­ter­day, and the venue change is set to be high on the agenda. Tokyo 2020 of­fi­cials were not im­me­di­ately able to com­ment on the re­ports.

Re­forms known as “Agenda 2020”, car­ried out un­der Bach with the aim of mak­ing the Olympics more sus­tain­able, al­low hosts to use fa­cil­i­ties in other cities or even coun­tries if it makes fi­nan­cial and prac­ti­cal sense. Tokyo’s orig­i­nal bid pledged to keep most venues within 8 km of the ath­lete’s vil­lage in down­town Tokyo, but sev­eral have al­ready been moved. Cy­cling will take place in Shizuoka pre­fec­ture, about 200 km (125 miles) west of Tokyo.

Tokyo or­gan­is­ers have been grap­pling with a se­ries of blun­ders. They were forced to scrap an ini­tial de­sign for the cen­tre­piece Na­tional Sta­dium, site of the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies, be­cause it was too ex­pen­sive, and had to redesign the logo for the Games fol­low­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of pla­gia­rism. An Asahi poll found that 78 per­cent of re­spon­dents favoured Koike’s pro­posal, which in­cludes chang­ing venues for vol­ley­ball and swim­ming as well as row­ing and ca­noe/kayak sprints.

Ac­cord­ing to the same poll, 78 per­cent of re­spon­dents also said they felt Olympic prepa­ra­tions “were not pro­ceed­ing smoothly.” — Reuters

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