IOC boss ducks Korea row dur­ing Tokyo 2020 visit

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

IN­TER­NA­TIONAL Olympic Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent Thomas Bach yes­ter­day dodged ques­tions over re­ports some Tokyo 2020 events could be held in South Korea, a move which would fur­ther em­bar­rass be­lea­guered Games or­gan­is­ers.

The IOC is con­sid­er­ing stag­ing row­ing and ca­noe­ing in the South Korean city of Chungju, ac­cord­ing to Ja­panese me­dia, amid ef­forts to slash a Tokyo 2020 bud­get which has sky­rock­eted to an es­ti­mated US$28 bil­lion – four times the ini­tial bid.

Bach was hur­riedly ush­ered out of a press brief­ing in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal af­ter an­swer­ing pre­pared ques­tions from Tokyo Olympic of­fi­cials, hint­ing at fur­ther fric­tion be­tween lo­cal or­gan­is­ers and city politi­cians.

Re­lo­cat­ing events would be seen a ma­jor hu­mil­i­a­tion for Tokyo or­gan­is­ers, al­though a Seoul sports min­istry of­fi­cial told AFP the re­ports came as a “sur­prise”.

Bach and Tokyo Gover­nor Yuriko Koike agreed on Oc­to­ber 18 to set up a four-party work­ing group com­pris­ing Tokyo’s metropoli­tan govern­ment, the IOC, Games or­gan­is­ers and the Ja­panese govern­ment to try to rein in costs.

Koike, who be­came Tokyo’s first fe­male gover­nor in July af­ter promis­ing to slash waste­ful spend­ing, then pro­posed na­tional and in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions be added to that work­ing group, but Bach clearly felt oth­er­wise.

The op­tion of mov­ing row­ing and ca­noe­ing to South Korea comes af­ter a panel of ex­perts pro­posed mov­ing the events to north­east Ja­pan, sev­eral hun­dreds of miles away, in­stead of build­ing a new venue in Tokyo Bay.

The panel also called for ex­ist­ing venues in Tokyo to be ren­o­vated to stage vol­ley­ball and swim­ming to help cut costs fur­ther, as it pre­dicted the to­tal cost for the 2020 Games would hit nearly $30 bil­lion, al­most three times higher than London 2012.

Tokyo or­gan­is­ers have lurched from one cri­sis to an­other since beat­ing Madrid and Is­tan­bul in the race to host the Games, with Abe forced to rip up ini­tial plans for the Olympic sta­dium amid pub­lic op­po­si­tion to its $2 bil­lion price tag.

The Tokyo logo was then scrapped af­ter ac­cu­sa­tions of pla­gia­rism be­fore French pros­e­cu­tors launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into $2 mil­lion in pay­ments which they sus­pect were made to help Tokyo se­cure the Games. –

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