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  • Tokyo Unveils Stadium Design; Turkey Touts UN Summit; Qatar to Keep Bidding


    Tokyo Unveils Stadium Design

    Plans are taking shape for Tokyo’s new Kasumigaoka National Stadium.
    An architect's rendering of the new National Stadium. (Tokyo 2020)

    Zaha Hadid Architects in London was announced Thursday as the winner of a design contest to update and remodel the venue in preparation for the IRB 2019 Rugby World Cup – and possibly the 2020 Olympics.

    Hadid, the first woman awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, also designed the Aquatics Center for London 2012.

    Should the Tokyo 2020 bid beat out Istanbul and Madrid, the new National Stadium would stage the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics, football and rugby during the Games.

    Competition requirements mandated a design that offers adjustable seating up to 80,000; a retractable roof; consideration for the surrounding landscape and ease of transportation; environmental efficiency; and the promise to be ready by March 2019.

    "Japan's newly refurbished stadium will be the best of the best,” said IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda, also president of both the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020.

    “A state-of-the-art stadium like Kasumigaoka is another indication that Tokyo is ready to deliver a dynamic celebration that reinforces and renews the Olympic Values for a new generation."

    Construction is set to begin in the coming months, according to Takeda, with a budget of $1.62 billion from the Japan Sports Council.

    Turkish Bid Touts UN Summit

    Istanbul 2020 says the city’s hosting prowess was on display Thursday at the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Global Summit.
    Maiden's Tower. (Istanbul 2020)

    Turkey’s capital welcomed more than 1,200 attendees from 155 countries for the occasion, including Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas, UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai and Istanbul 2020 leader Hasan Arat, who presented in his roles as vice president of the TOBB Tourism Assembly and vice chairman of the UNWTO Affiliate Members.

    “Tourism figures continue to illustrate that more and more people are being attracted to Turkey every year,” said Arat, citing a record 33 million visitors to Turkey in 2012.

    “The huge investment that has already been made into Turkey’s tourism infrastructure demonstrates the country’s desire to deliver the best possible visitor experience. As a result, Istanbul is better placed now than it has ever been to deal with the demands placed on a city by hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

    IOC member and National Olympic Committee of Turkey president U─čur Erdener added:

    “As a city which has brought together people of different nationalities and cultures throughout its fascinating history, it is fitting that this summit, which involves the sharing and exchanging of knowledge and ideas, is held in Istanbul – the city where East meets West.”

    Qatar to Keep Bidding

    Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani says Qatar’s next Olympics bid will be better than ever.
    QOC secretary general Sheikh Saoud. (ATR)

    “Our 2020 bid was stronger than our 2016 bid because the IOC Executive Board accepted our plan to host the Games in the October window, which didn't happen the first time,” said the secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

    "We think our next bid will be even stronger because of what we have learnt from 2020 and we think that each time we bid, we can get closer. We think that if we can keep doing that, one day the dream will happen to host the Olympics in the Middle East."

    Sheikh Saoud was speaking Wednesday at ASPIRE4SPORT, the annual sports business conference in Doha, when he unveiled the Qatar Sports Masterplan.

    “Our focus since the beginning of this project [QSM] has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants,” said the former vice chair of Doha 2020.

    “We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events."

    Sheikh Saoud confirmed that His Highness the Emir made clear after Doha 2020 was left off the IOC shortlist back in May that Qatar would keep trying for the Games.

    "So we will continue on that path and we will continue to bid,” he said Wednesday.

    “Every time we bid, we are listening and learning to see how we can make our bid stronger.”

    French Bid Inquest Due Dec. 5

    The release of a report on the failures of Paris 2012 and Annecy 2018 suffers yet another delay.

    According to French sports daily L’Equipe, tensions are high between the sports ministry and the French National Olympic and Sport Committee over the findings, now scheduled to be presented Dec. 5 at CNOSF headquarters in Paris.

    Etienne Thobois, who leads the Olympics-related practice of French consultants Keneo, is conducting the inquest, which will provide an indication of whether Paris will bid for 2024, the 100th anniversary of the first Games in France.

    Written by Matthew Grayson

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