(ATR) The International Paralympic Committee says it is pleased with preparations for the 2020 Paralympics, but it is “unlikely” there will be enough accessible hotel rooms in Tokyo.
Approaching one year to go to the Olympics and Paralympics (ATR)
Tokyo 2020 and the IPC wrapped up a project review this week, which National Paralympic Committees from Canada, Great Britain, and Japan attended.
Craig Spence, IPC Communications and Marketing Manager, said that “a lot of fantastic work is going on” for the 2020 Paralympics, but “the Organizing Committee should be under no illusions that the hard work really does begin now”.
The first Paralympic test event will be held this Summer, and NPCs rated the accessibility of the Paralympic Village highly. While feedback has been positive, Spence said that NPCs used the project review to express concern about accessibility at Paralympic venues, the satellite village in Izu for cycling, and at test events to “showcase Japan in the best possible light to visitors next summer and beyond”.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has taken steps to broaden legislation to compel hotels to expand the number of accessible hotel rooms in both existing and new buildings. This has mitigated the upcoming situation, but has left the city “hundreds” of rooms short
by the TMG’s own estimate.
“From an IPC point of view, the lack of accessible hotel accommodation remains our biggest headache and we appreciate that there is no quick remedy to fix this significant issue,” Spence said.
“Accessible hotel rooms cannot be built overnight and we are well aware that we are unlikely to have sufficient fully accessible rooms ready for Games-time. While we continue to work closely with Tokyo 2020 to seek alternatives, we are encouraged by steps taken by TMG and National Government to improve the situation with hoteliers through new legislation.”
Tokyo 2020 has been committed to ensuring the Paralympics are as successful as the Olympics, a key point raised by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
Domestic applications for Paralympic ticketing is expected to begin in Summer 2019
, according to the organizing committee.
“This August’s one year to go celebrations is a fantastic opportunity for Tokyo 2020 to engage and inform the Japanese public and international audiences about how serious they are about organizing the best Paralympic Games to date,” Spence added.
“The launch of Paralympic ticket sales this summer will also be a good barometer for us to measure the levels of interest in attending the Games.”
Tokyo organizers say they are aware that engaging the public is a must to make the Paralympics a success.
Toshiro Muto (ATR)
"We will do our best to have the Japanese people become more engaged with the Paralympics,” Toshiro Muto, Tokyo 2020 chief executive, said at the press conference as reported by Kyodo News.
"We will speed up our preparations so we can welcome the athletes at venues packed with spectators.”
Less Worries About Weather
While most of the concerns over organization for the Olympic Games have been concentrated on Tokyo’s extreme heat and constraining the overall budget, the Paralympics believe it can avoid the former.
The 2020 Paralympics will not begin until Aug. 25, which organizers say is when Tokyo’s summer heat begins to break. A number of events for the Olympic program needed to be rescheduled to avoid heat, such as the marathon, race walk, and rugby sevens.
Spence said that it is unlikely that any events would have to be changed.
"In terms of the competition schedule, when we originally created it, we created it with heat in mind," Spence said according to Kyodo.
"We are looking at all data and at the moment we are confident that starting times we got will be fine for August and September. You have to remember we start later than the Olympics."
Homepage photo: Tokyo 2020
Written by Aaron Bauer
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