Row­ing, ca­noe, swim­ming to re­main at Tokyo venues

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Olympic or­ga­niz­ers agreed yes­ter­day to keep the row­ing, ca­noe sprint and swim­ming venues at their planned sites in Tokyo for the 2020 Games, while post­pon­ing a de­ci­sion un­til Christ­mas on a pos­si­ble switch for vol­ley­ball.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee, Tokyo or­ga­niz­ers and Ja­pan’s cen­tral and city gov­ern­ments have been dis­cussing ways of re­duc­ing costs, in­clud­ing pos­si­bly mov­ing three sports from planned new venues to ex­ist­ing ones.

The group was es­tab­lished in Oc­to­ber af­ter a Tokyo gov­ern­ment panel said the Olympics cost could ex­ceed 3 tril­lion yen ($27 bil­lion) un­less dras­tic cuts were made.

The Tokyo panel had ini­tially pro­posed mov­ing the row­ing and ca­noe sprint venue, cur­rently planned at the Sea For­est in Tokyo, to Miyagi pre­fec­ture, 400 kilo­me­ters (250 miles) north of Tokyo, af­ter its cost es­ti­mate soared to nearly 50 bil­lion yen ($450 mil­lion). A new fea­si­bil­ity study shows the cost could come down to around 30 bil­lion yen ($270 mil­lion).

“Con­sid­er­ing the cost, lo­ca­tion and var­i­ous other fac­tors, we have de­cided to hold (the row­ing and ca­noe­ing) at the planned Sea For­est site,” Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said.

Koike pro­posed us­ing the Na­ganuma boat fa­cil­ity, which she had con­sid­ered as an op­tion, as a train­ing fa­cil­ity ahead of the Tokyo Games. Koike had pushed for the Na­ganuma fa­cil­ity, which is in the area still re­cov­er­ing from the March 2011 earth­quake and tsunami, as a sym­bol of re­con­struc­tion, which she says gives sig­nif­i­cance to hold­ing the Olympics in Ja­pan in 2020. A new swim­ming fa­cil­ity at its planned lo­ca­tion, Tat­sumi in east­ern Tokyo, will have seat­ing ca­pac­ity re­duced from 20,000 to 15,000, sav­ing 14 bil­lion yen ($125 mil­lion). Koike, how­ever, said she still needs time to decide whether to move in­door vol­ley­ball to Yoko­hama Arena in­stead of build­ing a new arena in Tokyo’s coastal Ari­ake district.

She said the es­ti­mated 40 bil­lion yen ($360 mil­lion) cost of the Tokyo venue is “still very high,” promis­ing a de­ci­sion by Christ­mas - a de­lay the group ac­cepted. At yes­ter­day’s four­party talks, Tokyo or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee CEO Toshiro Muto pro­posed putting a 2 tril­lion yen ($18 bil­lion) cap on the to­tal Olympic cost, whose es­ti­mate has yet to be re­leased. IOC vice pres­i­dent John Coates, who heads the in­ter­na­tional body’s co­or­di­na­tion com­mis­sion for Tokyo, said the ceil­ing was too high and he was still not sat­is­fied with the num­ber. “The IOC has not agreed to that amount of money,” Coates told re­porters af­ter the meet­ing.

“We be­lieve the cost can be sig­nif­i­cantly lower than that,” Coates said, cit­ing “high fig­ures” on the rent. “We can make some sav­ings on those fig­ures.” Cost es­ti­mates at a num­ber of venues have surged since Tokyo was awarded the games in 2013, in part due to rising construction costs re­lated to dis­as­ter re­con­struc­tion.

Koike re­peat­edly cited the IOC’s “Agenda 2020” re­forms that seek sus­tain­able Olympics and en­cour­age the use of ex­ist­ing venues, not just in Ja­pan but uni­ver­sally, say­ing her ef­fort is fully in line with them. Con­cerns over costs have dis­cour­aged some cities from bid­ding. — AP

NAGANO: Ja­panese Bud­dhist monk, Kazuki Yazawa (4th R) walks with other monks af­ter the morn­ing prayers at the court­yard of Zenkoji Bud­dhist tem­ple in Nagano on November 7, 2016. Yazawa, who fin­ished 11th in the men’s kayak slalom at the Rio Olympics ear­lier this year, is con­tem­plat­ing the holy grail of the 2020 Tokyo Games — if he can find time be­tween all that chant­ing and med­i­tat­ing. — AFP

TOKYO: In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) Vice Pres­i­dent and Chair­man of the Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mis­sion for the Tokyo 2020 Games John Coates (R) at­tends the meet­ing of the Four-Party Work­ing Group rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Tokyo yes­ter­day. Tokyo Gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike on November 29 dropped a pro­posal to move a 2020 Olympic ca­noe­ing venue out­side the cap­i­tal, in­stead vow­ing to cut construction costs on that and an­other fa­cil­ity. — AFP

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