IOC urges ‘un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment’ by Games hosts

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOKYO:

Tokyo and other up­com­ing Olympic host ci­ties must make an “un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment” to achiev­ing a suc­cess­ful Games, the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) urged yes­ter­day, as cost over­runs plague the run-up to Tokyo’s 2020 event.

In a video mes­sage to a de­brief­ing in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal on the Rio Olympics, IOC chief Thomas Bach hailed them as “mar­vel­lous games” held in a “mar­vel­lous city.”

“Or­gan­is­ing the Olympic Games is an in­ten­sive process that re­quires cre­ativ­ity, dis­ci­pline and col­lab­o­ra­tion with many peo­ple and stake­hold­ers,” he said.

“Most im­por­tantly, it re­quires un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment.” The three-day de­brief­ing has drawn se­nior of­fi­cials from the IOC and Olympic or­gan­is­ers from Rio and Tokyo as well as the hosts of the Win­ter Games in 2018, South Korea’s Pyeongchang, and 2022, which are be­ing held in Bei­jing.

Among oth­ers tak­ing part were Tokyo gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike and Rio de Janeiro mayor Ed­uardo Paes. Bach has pre­vi­ously praised the Rio Games, which were gen­er­ally seen as suc­cess­ful de­spite Brazil’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic cri­sis and se­cu­rity and at­ten­dance prob­lems.

Koike, now spear­head­ing a cost-cut­ting fight, told the meet­ing that she wants to learn from Rio, where she said ma­te­ri­als for some fa­cil­i­ties were re­cy­cled to build a school.

Koike said that Tokyo wants to in­tro­duce a spirit of avoid­ing waste­ful­ness by “draw­ing on ef­forts in Rio as well as the IOC’s long ex­pe­ri­ence, wis­dom and knowl­edge”.

The de­brief­ing came as ne­go­ti­a­tions over op­tions for mov­ing some Tokyo 2020 venues in­ten­si­fied. Tokyo is eye­ing ways to save money af­ter warn­ings that costs could hit an eye-wa­ter­ing $30 bil­lion-four times the ini­tial es­ti­mate and al­most triple that of the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

Op­tions in­clude re­lo­cat­ing venues for ca­noe­ing and row­ing as well as vol­ley­ball, and scal­ing back plans for a new swim­ming venue. Koike and Bach agreed last month to set up a work­ing group to try to con­trol costs.

IOC of­fi­cial Christophe Dubi said ear­lier this month the row­ing and ca­noe­ing could take place in Miyagi pre­fec­ture, 250 miles (400 kilo­me­tres) north of Tokyo, and the vol­ley­ball in Yoko­hama south of the cap­i­tal, fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions from a Koike-ap­pointed panel of ex­perts.

But Tokyo of­fi­cials have faced re­sis­tance from 2020 or­gan­is­ers, who ar­gue that mov­ing some events to Miyagi, which was badly hit by Ja­pan’s 2011 tsunami dis­as­ter, could ac­tu­ally cost more be­cause the re­gion lacks the proper in­fra­struc­ture.

Dubi said Sun­day in Tokyo that de­tailed op­tions for mov­ing some Tokyo venues would be pre­sented at a meet­ing in­volv­ing the IOC, Tokyo 2020 or­gan­is­ers, the Tokyo metropoli­tan gov­ern­ment and the Ja­panese gov­ern­ment to­day. — AFP

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