Ministry of Sport

Concerns Over Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Preparations

At the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) general assembly held at the second day of the SportAccord 2019 Summit, representatives from international federations have voice concerns over preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This comes after it was announced the local organising committee is planning further cuts to the budget reserved for sports presentation, reportedly as much as 80 per cent, with outdoor sports likely to be most affected.

The director of the presidential office at the International Judo Federation (IJF), Larisa Kiss, said the proposal for the judo competition looks and feels ‘shockingly poor’.

“We understand the budget cuts, but we find this slightly exaggerated and we don’t want this to be the same situation as in Rio, where the look was quite cheap.

“We have events in Tokyo every year.

“The venue looks much better than what we are being proposed now.

“This would be a pity, to have a yearly IJF look better than the Olympics,” Kiss said.

The Tokyo 2020 organising committee’s overall budget stands at a reported $17.9 billion, but venue capacities for some sports have been reduced in order to cut costs and ease transport in the Japanese capital.

World Sailing chief executive, Andy Hunt, said World Sailing remains ‘extremely concerned with the service levels that are being proposed for athletes at venues.’

“For example, no hot food for athletes in the venue, lack of athlete shade and water provision, medical services not matching athlete needs.

“These matters need to be urgently addressed and rethought as they really are very basic athlete services,” Mr Hunt said.

“We’re just concerned as to how you, as OCOG (Organising Committee for the Olympic Games), will gain any delivery expertise this year when you’ve outsourced the delivery of the test events to third party agencies.

“In addition, the lines of accountability for the delivery between the OCOG and the agencies do not appear to be clear,” he said.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) chief operating officer, Kelly Fairweather, said the Tokyo 2020 organisers need to ensure spectator experience is not sacrificed in favour of cutting costs.

“The spectator experience is so, so important,” he said.

“I would urge you to not look at this as a cost because if you spend all this money on construction and getting the Games ready, and then cut budgets at the last minute, that’s not going to help you showcase the Games, your country and your city.

“It’s just not worth it at all,” Mr Fairweather said.

In response to the points raised by the representatives of the international federations, the Tokyo 2020 sports director, Koji Murofushi, said the committee faces a ‘critical year’ and insisted the local organisers are ‘trying to be as flexible as possible’ as they enter the final phase of Games delivery.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson