Tokyo bid 'in safe pair of hands'

Japan's Olympic chief says Tokyo 2020 bid is on track ahead of crucial September vote which will determine city's fate.

    Tokyo bid 'in safe pair of hands'
    Up for the vote: Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul will find out their fate in September [GETTY]

    Tokyo's Olympic bid committee said Monday that the city was a "safe pair of hands" for hosting the 2020 Summer Games, with about six weeks to go before the venue is chosen.

    "Everything is on track and we are confident of Tokyo's chances in the tough bidding race," Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda, who also heads the Tokyo 2020 bid committee, told a news conference.

    "We are focused on winning the race, ensuring that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) knows Tokyo 2020 is a safe pair of hands in these uncertain times."

    He added that organisers would try to sell the city's merits "until the final minute".

    Crucial vote

    More than 100 IOC members will vote on September 7 in Buenos Aires to choose the winning venue as Japan's capital ramps up its bid to edge out rivals Madrid and Istanbul.

    In recent months, Istanbul had been gripped by anti-government protests while much attention has focused on Spain's financial troubles.

    But Takeda declined to say which offered the stiffest competition.

    "It's very difficult to say - both cities are working very hard," he told about two dozen international media before a tour of the proposed Olympic facilities.

    Tokyo is the only one among the three cities to have previously hosted the Olympics, in 1964, and it has emphasised its readiness to host a safe and well-funded Games with a reserve fund of $4.5 billion to help foot the bill.

    Among the proposed venues is an 80,000-seat main stadium which will be built at a cost of $1.3 billion and an Olympic village near the waterfront that could accommodate about 17,000 athletes and officials.

    An IOC report last month said that about 85 per cent of competition venues would be built within a five-mail radius of the projected Olympic village to keep the games compact and offer a "unique celebration in the centre of the city".

    On Monday, Takeda pointed to Tokyo's earthquake-proofing engineering and construction record to soothe concerns about a natural disaster after Japan's 2011 quake-sparked tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident.

    He added that the city itself was protected by a harbour.

    "If you are worried about tsunami, Tokyo is naturally protected," he said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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