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  • IOC Praises "Quick Start" by Tokyo 2020 Organizers -- On the Scene


    Coates gives a speech on Thursday at the beginning of the first Tokyo 2020 project review. (Getty Images)
    The IOC’s chief inspector for Tokyo 2020 says he is “very impressed” with progress and applauded the appointment of women to the executive board.

    Following the IOC delegation’s three-day project review, Australia’s John Coates had nothing but praise for Games leaders.

    “We have been very impressed with what we have seen this week during our visit,” he said at the conclusion of the inspection Friday.

    “The current level of planning, the venue layout, the involvement and integration of the government authorities at all levels, and the experience and diversity of the new Executive Board all leave us confident in Tokyo’s ability to deliver great Games for the athletes in 2020.”

    The formation of the organizing committee, composition of the executive board, and creation of a high-level advisory committee enabled Tokyo to face the coming six and a half years “with a high level of confidence thanks to this quick start."

    In particular, he applauded Tokyo for responding to concerns about the lack of female representation on the organizing committee by naming 10 women to the 34-member board.

    Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said Games organizers and the IOC were now in line on the issue of more female and younger members on the executive board.

    IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee members pose for a photo Friday. (ATR/Oda Mitsusaya)
    "Team Coates and Team Mori are on the same vessel for the next six years, and will continue to row in the direction of 'Sport for Tomorrow' as advocated by the Japanese government," the 76-year-old former prime minister was quoted by Reuters.

    Amid IOC president Thomas Bach’s shake-up of the Olympic program under his Olympic Agenda 2020 project, Tokyo is keen to see baseball and softball reintroduced for the its Games. Both sports are hugely popular in Japan.

    Coates said it was not discussed but was “on the table” and a decision was likely at the IOC’s Extraordinary Session in Monaco in December.

    He the revenue streams needed to cover the estimated $3.4 billion Games budget were achievable.

    The IOC inspection team spent three days in meetings and touring venues and future sites of the Games, including Yoyogi National Stadium, the Olympic Stadium, and the Olympic Village.

    "At this stage, I don't see any challenges – what I see is opportunities in terms of the legacies that can be left in encouraging more Japanese to participate in sport," Coates said.

    The IOC commission, which included vice chair Alex Gilady, Olympic Games executive director Gilbert Felli, and his deputy and successor Christophe Dubi along with a group of Olympic experts.

    The first visit of the full IOC Coordination Commission to Tokyo is scheduled for June 25 to 27. It will be the first of 10 commission visits to the 2020 host city over its seven-year life cycle.

    Written by Oda Mitsusaya in Tokyo and Mark Bisson 

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