Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has vowed to cooperate with the ongoing French investigation into an alleged bribe paid by Tokyo 2020 during their successful bid to land the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020
• French prosecutors investigating payments from Tokyo 2020 bid
• ‘We would not try to discourage them from where the trail led,’ says Pound
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Thomas Bach, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, today wasted no time in signalling that a significant revamp of the winning Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic project is probably in the offing.
Barely was the ink dry on the Host City contract - indeed, it may well have been still wet - when Bach intervened in a media conference to point out that the Chinese capital now had the “opportunity to benefit from” the IOC’s recently-enacted Olympic Agenda 2020 reform programme.
“It is a little bit like the situation of Tokyo in 2020,” the IOC President observed.
“We are ready to work closely with Beijing.”
If the changes to Beijing’s much-criticised blueprint are anything like as profound as those made, and planned, to the Japanese capital’s Summer Olympic and Paralympic intentions as compared with the original bid book, then the transformation from what Chinese bid leaders have so far outlined would be pretty sweeping.
The IOC is so far claiming to have made $1.7 billion (£1.1 billion/€1.5 billion) of savings by encouraging wholesale changes to Tokyo’s original venue plan through making greater use of pre-existing and further-flung facilities.
Outside criticism of Beijing’s proposals has focused on the large distance between Games zones and limited snowfall, obliging planners to countenance deployment of artificial snow-making systems, provoking what bid officials described as “minimal environmental impact”.
The tightness of Beijing’s four-vote winning margin - after a re-vote forced by technical issues - suggests strongly that this criticism gained plenty of traction among IOC members.
Bach’s comments were sparked by insidethegames' question to the victorious Beijing team to which Beijing 2022 director Zhang Li responded that “we are keen to improve the current preliminary plans we have”, adding: “Our chief goal is the best Games in 2022.”
Sports Minister Liu Peng, who is also President of the Chinese Olympic Committee, chipped in as well, talking of “a competition between equals and a friendly competition.
“I think this close victory is a good thing: we must learn from Almaty to improve our own work,” Liu said.
Bach reacted testily when asked whether the problems with voting might be indicative that the process was in some way rigged.
“This is a pretty unfair question,” the IOC President maintained.
“Obviously there were technical issues.
“If then the scrutineers decide to be on the very safe side, to have a new vote and to have it on a ballot paper, this speaks for itself.”
Baseball and softball, karate, squash, bowling, roller sports, climbing, surfing and wushu are the eight sports nominated for the next stage of the application process to be added to the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it has been announced this morning.
The decision, compiled from a list of 26 applicants, was made today following a meeting of the Tokyo's 2020 Additional Events Programme Panel in the Japanese capital chaired by the head of imaging giants Canon Fujio Mitarai.
The list holds few surprises, with baseball and softball long seen as the favourites to be restored to the Olympic programme follow their exclusion after Beijing 2008.
Squash, karate, roller sports, wushu and sport climbing, meanwhile, all applied in the initial inclusion process ultimately won by wrestling in 2013 following the controversial decision to axed them after Rio 2016 before a campaign was launched to
Surfing is included following an extensive marketing campaign, while bowling is the least expected addition, benefiting from its increased profile at other major multi-sport events such as the Asian Games.
Those 18 that have been unsuccessful consist of air sports, american football, bowls, bridge, chess, dancesport, floorball, flying disc, korfball, netball, orienteering, polo, racquetball, snooker, sumo, tug of war, underwater sports and water skiing.
All eight federations will now progress to a second stage of the application process, which will include the submission of further details by July 22 before Briefings to organisers due to take place in Tokyo on August 7 and 8.
An unspecified number will then be proposed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in September, before a final decision is due to made by its membership at its Session in Rio de Janeiro in August of next year.
New sports must be a "driving force to promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal", it has been explained, while they must also "engage the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision".
No details have been released about the contents of each Federations applications, with no more information expected until September.
A major question considers the contents of roller skating's application, and whether it includes the discipline of skateboarding, which has been widely muted as a contender.
But it was not eligible to apply because neither of the Federations who recognise it - the International Skateboarding Federation or the World Skateboarding Federation - are recognised by the IOC.
But, although the International Roller Skating Federation has said it is unable to provide further details at this stage, insidethegames understands that skateboarding and speed skating are the two disciplines suggested.
If successful, this is a move which would bear comparison with the integration of snowboarding within the International Ski Federation ahead of its Winter Olympic inclusion at Nagano 1998.