Row­ing fed­er­a­tion seeks clar­i­fi­ca­tion on Tokyo 2020 Olympics venue

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

The head of the in­ter­na­tional row­ing fed­er­a­tion says he is seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion from Tokyo of­fi­cials af­ter a city ad­vi­sory panel rec­om­mended mov­ing the 2020 Olympics row­ing com­pe­ti­tion far from the Ja­panese cap­i­tal to save money.

Jean-Christophe Rol­land, pres­i­dent of the Swiss-based World Row­ing, was in Tokyo yes­ter­day on a sched­uled visit. He said the re­ports of a pos­si­ble venue change had come as a sur­prise.

Tokyo gov­er­nor Yuriko Koike has promised “world-class cost-con­trol” for the 2020 Tokyo Games, and or­dered a re­view by a panel of in­de­pen­dent experts. A pre­lim­i­nary re­port Fri­day warned of bal­loon­ing costs and rec­om­mended us­ing ex­ist­ing venues for row­ing, swim­ming and vol­ley­ball in­stead of build­ing new ones.

Rol­land said he vis­ited the orig­i­nally pro­posed venue, called “Umi no Mori (Sea For­est),” ear­lier yes­ter­day and felt con­fi­dent that the de­ci­sion was right.

“For me, there is no doubt this is ab­so­lutely suit­able for the sport of row­ing,” he said. Rol­land said he was to meet with Koike and was keen to hear the Tokyo metropoli­tan govern­ment’s side of the story.

Or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee deputy di­rec­tor Yuk­i­hiko Nuno­mura re­as­sured Rol­land that the venue in­cluded in the ini­tial bid is the one ap­proved by all con­cerned par­ties.

Tokyo’s re­port rec­om­mended an ex­ist­ing venue about 400 kilo­me­tres (250 miles) north of Tokyo as a cheaper op­tion to the site in Tokyo, where the lat­est cost es­ti­mate for ren­o­va­tions has risen to seven times its ini­tial pro­jec­tions. While or­gan­is­ers hope to make the venue a fu­ture “mecca” of row­ing, the re­port calls it ground­less be­cause of Ja­pan’s small row­ing com­mu­ni­ties and their lack of in­cen­tives to re­lo­cate to Tokyo.

The al­ter­na­tive ex­ist­ing venues for the other two sports are in the Tokyo area.

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