Bach lauds Rio, tells Tokyo ‘to show the way’

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOKYO:

The head of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day praised the Rio Games for over­com­ing sig­nif­i­cant dif­fi­cul­ties, while urg­ing 2020 host Tokyo to put its own stamp on the event.

IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach ad­dressed the close of a de­brief­ing event held in Tokyo to re­flect on Rio’s ex­pe­ri­ences and share tips with fu­ture host cities.

Rio, faced “ex­tremely dif­fi­cult po­lit­i­cal cir­cum­stances in Brazil”, Bach said via live video from Switzer­land, adding it also faced “fi­nan­cial, so­cial and eth­i­cal” is­sues.

De­spite that, the Games were “the most con­sumed games ever in Olympic his­tory,” he said, adding this was down to the hard work of the or­gan­is­ers.

The 2016 Rio Olympics were gen­er­ally seen as suc­cess­ful de­spite Brazil’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic crisis as well as se­cu­rity and at­ten­dance prob­lems. The three-day meet­ing drew se­nior of­fi­cials from the IOC and Olympic or­gan­is­ers from both Rio and Tokyo as well as their re­spec­tive may­ors. But it was fo­cused mostly on broad is­sues in­clud­ing lo­gis­tics, plan­ning and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, while prob­lems that have plagued the Olympics such as dop­ing were not on the agenda, of­fi­cials said.

“The topic was not dis­cussed,” IOC of­fi­cial Christophe Dubi, told a press con­fer­ence after the meet­ing.

“How­ever it’s fair to recog­nise the re­port that has been pro­duced,” he added, re­fer­ring to a Novem­ber 2015 bomb­shell World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) study that un­veiled sys­tem­atic state-spon­sored dop­ing and cor­rup­tion.

Among other at­ten­dees were South Korea’s Pyeongchang, host of the Win­ter Games in 2018, and Bei­jing, which is hold­ing them in 2022. Bach said Tokyo should “show the way for fu­ture or­gan­is­ers how well Olympic Games can be or­gan­ised in a sus­tain­able and fea­si­ble way.”

Tokyo vice gov­er­nor Takashi Ya­mamoto also praised Rio and said the Ja­panese cap­i­tal will fol­low in its foot­steps.

“Even with fi­nan­cial con­straints, Rio achieved suc­cess by tap­ping pri­vate sec­tor cap­i­tal,” he said at the meet­ing. “That’s some­thing Tokyo must learn from.”

Tokyo is un­der in­tense pres­sure to slash costs amid warn­ings that the 2022 Games could cost an eye-pop­ping $30 bil­lion-four times the ini­tial es­ti­mate and al­most triple that of the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

On Tues­day, Tokyo Gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike dropped a pro­posal to move a canoeing and row­ing venue out­side the cap­i­tal, in­stead vow­ing to cut con­struc­tion costs on that and an­other fa­cil­ity, while de­lay­ing a de­ci­sion on whether to build a new vol­ley­ball fa­cil­ity or use an ex­ist­ing one. —AFP

IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach

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