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  • Press Release: Wrestling Championships help Tokyo 2016 tighten hold on nation's passion


     Tokyo, 15 October 2008 – Tokyo 2016’s credentials for the hosting Olympic and Paralympic Games – the world's greatest sporting event – were bolstered when Japan's capital city welcomed 145 competitors from 41 countries to the Senior Female Wrestling World Championships, that ignited the nation's passion for sport and enthusiasm for hosting the Games in 2016.

    The venue was historic Yoyogi National Stadium, one of the signature stadia built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and an enduring symbol of the Olympic legacy. A half-century after hosting events in the 1964 Games, the immaculately maintained stadium which continues to be used on a daily basis is the proposed site for swimming and basketball competitions at the Tokyo 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games – vivid evidence that Olympic Games create long-lasting legacies not just for host countries but the international community as well.

    Yoyogi National Stadium, along with Tokyo's other world-class stadia, is one of several compelling reasons why Japan's vibrant capital hosts many of the most prominent events in international sport. Just the previous week Tokyo was the site of the 2008 Judo Team World Championships.

    Proudly representing Japan at the world championships were local heroes Kyoko Hamaguchi, the Tokyo Athlete Ambassador and a two-time Olympic bronze medal winner, and Saori Yoshida, a Tokyo 2016 Athletes Commission member and freestyle wrestling gold medallist. Living up to their lofty reputations, Ms Yoshida captured a gold medal and Ms Hamaguchi a bronze during the championships.

    Large crowds viewed the wrestling world championships in person and via Nippon Television Network Corporation, one of Japan's leading nationwide TV broadcasters. The intense following generated by the competition vividly demonstrated Tokyo residents' passion for sport, which is a key reason why the city hosts major international sporting events every year.

    Dr Ichiro Kono, Tokyo 2016 Chairman and CEO, commented:

    “Tokyo has proven over and over that it is fully capable of hosting world-class events. These world championships gave a preview of the most compact Olympic and Paralympic Games in history. In 2016, the city will become the Games under a plan to locate 95% of the competition venues within an eight-kilometre radius. Holding the Games in the very heart of Tokyo will unite the city with sport and ensure that Tokyo 2016 incorporates city's rich history, culture and passion into the magic of the Olympic Games.”

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