Tokyo 2020 Olympics have 3 venue changes approved by IOC
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics got the go-ahead Friday from the IOC executive board to change three venue locations, with more changes expected in the next few months as the Japanese try to cuts costs.
Toshiro Muto, chief executive officer, said that basketball, equestrian and canoe-slalom would be moved. He said the executive board approved plans for 17 venues to stay the same. Muto said about 10 remained, and said some might be changed.
“For these three changes we already had a consensus from the international federations,” Muto said.
Basketball goes to the Saitama Super Arena north of central Tokyo. It was the site of the 2006 world basketball championship.
Equestrian moves to Baji Park, a venue from the city’s 1964 Olympics. Canoe-slalom goes from Kasai Rinkai Park to a spot outside the park.
“We are working on some others, and there’s potential for some other changes all with the view to sustainability and addressing some cost savings,” said John Coates, head of the IOC inspection team for Tokyo.
He listed several sports that could see venue changes, which the IOC could approve in June. Among them: taekwondo, badminton, sailing, velodrome cycling, and fencing.
Christophe Dubi, Olympic Games Executive Director, said the changes so far would save Tokyo about $1 billion.
“It’s a very substantial figure, and it will continue to grow,” Dubi said.
The IOC awarded Tokyo the games partly because it was compact with 85 percent of the venues within an 8-kilometer (5-mile) radius.
Coates said the changes lowered that number to 66 percent. But he said Tokyo was now using 50 percent existing venues, up from 33 percent.
He said a decision on new sports for the Tokyo Games would not be made until 2016. Baseball and softball are widely expected to be added. Other candidates include karate and squash.
Tokyo has been quick to line up domestic sponsors, including camera maker Canon and the brewer Ashai. It has almost moved rapidly on the IOC’s Olympic Agenda 2020, which is designed to cut the cost of the games and give organizers flexibility.
“The IOC applauded the Tokyo presentation,” Coates said. “They are very, very pleased with the support already; the commercial support, the corporate structure. It was a very good presentation.”
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