IOC Inspection Of Tokyo 2016 Ends On High Note

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Evaluation Commission ended its inspection Sunday of Tokyo’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games with the commission’s chair Nawal El Moutawakel saying she was “most impressed by what Tokyo could offer to the Olympic Games”, while describing Tokyo as “a dynamic city where sport plays such a key part in people’s lives”.

She told a news conference “we are most impressed with what Tokyo could offer the Olympics and also with Tokyo’s excellent and highly professional presentation”.

El Moutawakel praised the compactness of Tokyo’s bid saying “it would make it easy for the athletes and for all the Games stakeholders. We were very impressed by the vision (of Tokyo 2016); we were also impressed by the high quality of the presentations; we were also impressed by the content of what was presented to us regarding the Tokyo bid”.

She added, “I think the concept of legacy was well understood. We don’t believe there will be any white elephants. In fact, speaking about legacy, included will be all the 1964 Olympic infrastructure and venues for 2016 should Tokyo get the Games to create a 100 (year) concept legacy of Tokyo”.

She acknowledged the strong commitment of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and expressed her sincere appreciation to the entire staff of the Tokyo 2016 Bid Committee for their excellent and highly professional preparations, cooperation, hard work and warm hospitality.

But El Moutawakel reportedly refused to compare Tokyo with Chicago, or the other candidate cities. But she acknowledged that Tokyo’s strong economic position was a significant factor amid the current financial downturn.

She added, “we have been given all kinds of financial guarantees to secure the budget. We’ve also been given the full support of the Prime Minister (Taro Aso) and the Japanese government in case of any shortfall.

“We have also been impressed with the support shown by the Japanese business community. We will study all this carefully before compiling our final report”.

El Moutawakel praised the environmental friendliness of Tokyo’s waterfront bid where 97 per cent of its venues would be within an eight-kilometre radius.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Olympic Games Executive Director, said the evaluation team could not for now disclose the support rate of Tokyo conducted by the IOC. He said, “you will know the result by September in the finalized report”.

But China View reports Tokyo’s governor Shintaro Ishihara hinted the IOC official survey’s result might not be very satisfactory. He said, “their poll was done quite a long time ago. A survey by the world’s largest newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun a month ago showed the support rate was 74 per cent, which greatly encouraged us. Going forward the number will certainly grow”.

Meanwhile, during their bid inspection Friday, the 13-members of the evaluation commission were treated to Italian-style cuisine at Ristorante Aso. Straits Times reports they praised the food using the words “fantastic” and “beautiful” and took pictures of each dish.

On Saturday evening Tokyo 2016 officials hosted what is described as a “low-key” affair at the official government guesthouse on the grounds of a palace. Only 28 guests were invited to dine with the 13-member IOC team. Japan’s prime minister along with several local Olympians also attended the event.

The IOC Evaluation Commission members wrapped up their visit Sunday and are on to Rio April 29-May 2 and Madrid May 5-8 to inspect their cities’ bids.