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Olympics: Organizers to decide format of urban sports in July

  • May 23, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 10:49 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Yoshiro Mori, the chief of the organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, said Thursday the organizers expect to come up with a concrete competition format for the newly added urban sports including skateboarding in July.


“We can’t forget the fact that the urban sports were the events that we, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, proposed. It starts in Tokyo, so we need to make good decisions and prepare,” Mori told a press conference following a three-day project review with the International Olympic Committee’s Coordination Commission.


Mori said the fact that some urban sports competitions would be held “about one meter in front of the audience” necessitated event-specific security plans.

“They are sports for young athletes with loud music. There is a great meaning in Tokyo being the starting point of these sports,” Mori said. “It’s important to come up with something by around July.”


While Mori indicated Japan’s summer heat and traffic remain the biggest issues for organizers, John Coates, the chief of the commission, said he saw “steady progress” and was pleased with the “excitement” building in the host country.


“We’ve received reports on concrete measures being undertaken to manage areas, such as for adverse weather conditions and transportation,” Coates said, indicating measures to address Tokyo’s busy traffic conditions should be considered after the games’ test events go into full swing in June.


The three-day project review in the Japanese capital monitored the progress of preparations, including the response to severe weather conditions, as well as the levels of ticket applications and test events. The Coordination Commission is expected to make its next visit in July.


The final day of the meeting came a day after the IOC’s Executive Board recommended that boxing remain on the Olympic program outside the control of the sport’s governing body, the international boxing association (AIBA).


Mori welcomed the IOC’s decision by saying, “We can now speed up our preparation efforts.”


The recommendations are subject to approval at the IOC session in June. A special task force will be chaired by IOC member and International Gymnastics Federation head Morinari Watanabe to organize the boxing qualifiers and the Tokyo competition.


While the decision was met with praise, Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, indicated it has to quickly make plans following the IOC’s approval next month.


“(The boxing tickets) will not make it to the ongoing ticket application period (closing on May 28), and we haven’t decided anything concrete about the sales plan,” he said. “We need to come up with something.”


Watanabe told reporters he places “first priority on the athletes” when drawing up the best-possible measures with so little time remaining ahead of the Olympics.


“The athletes deserve to compete in a fair environment. It’s my responsibility to provide athletes with that environment,” Watanabe said.

The Olympics will be held between July 24 and Aug. 9, 2020, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

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