1 October 2016
Göran R Buckhorn writes:
Still fresh in our memories are the controversies that surrounded the Olympic Games in Rio: corruption, the Zika virus, crimes and, of course, the health concerns with holding the Olympic rowing regatta on the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon.
With the Tokyo Olympic Games four years away, it looks like the Games in the Japanese capital have run into trouble. It seems the venues that were originally planned are going to change significantly – and rowing is one of the sports that will be affected.
The other day, a Japanese government panel recommended changes to three venues for the Games, due to costs that have risen dramatically. The initial overall cost for the 2020 Games was estimated at 734 billion yen (£5.58 billion; $7.24 billion), but with the current economic situation, costs could run up to 3 trillion yen (£22.35 billion; $29 billion), the panel wrote in a report.
In Tokyo’s bid proposal it was stated that ca. 85 per cent of the venues would be within 8 km (5 miles) of the Olympic Village. However, the panel suggests that, instead of building three new venues for volleyball, swimming and rowing/canoeing, already existing venues should be used. The rowing/canoeing venue alone was estimated to cost 6.9 billion yen (£52.46 million; $68.06 million), but could now run up to 49.1 billion yen (£373.24 million; $484.35 million).
The panel in Tokyo now proposes to move the rowing and canoeing events from Tokyo Bay to Tome City, which is 434.5 km (270 miles) northeast of Tokyo. This move needs to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF).
Basketball, Sailing, Taekwondo and Track cycling have already had their venues moved out of Tokyo.
In an article about these changes for the Tokyo Olympic Games and other gaffes by the Tokyo organisation committee, the news agency Reuters writes in an article on Thursday:
Tokyo organizers have been grappling with a series of blunders.
They were forced to scrap an initial design for the centerpiece National Stadium, site of the opening and closing ceremonies, because it was too expensive, and had to redesign the logo for the games following accusations of plagiarism.
Maybe it is time to spiff up the Ara River (Arakawa River), which was the venue for the 1964 Olympic rowing?