FISA Statement Regarding Tokyo’s Suggestion to move the Olympic Rowing

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Stay or Go for Rowing? A question the 2020 Olympic organising committee is struggling with.

13 October 2016

On 11 October, the International Rowing Federation, FISA, released a statement regarding the changes that the government in Tokyo would like to make for the 2020 Olympic Games, which HTBS wrote about on 1 October (read it here). Among the new proposals by the government panel was to move the rowing and canoeing events out of Tokyo to Tome City, located 434.5 km (270 miles) north of the Japanese capital. A move like this has to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Rowing Federation (FISA) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF). In its statement, FISA writes:

FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland met last week with Yuriko Koike, the Tokyo Metropolitan Governor and discussed Tokyo’s continuing commitment to stage an outstanding Olympic Games. Governor Koike confirmed that the reform panel she had formed to review certain elements of Games planning had made a report which recommended to consider moving the rowing and canoe sprint competitions from the planned Sea Forest Waterway water sports Centre to Naganuma Lake (Miyagi Prefecture) 400km North of Tokyo.

Mr. Rolland confirmed FISA’s sincere commitment to limiting costs and maximizing legacy for the people of Tokyo. He equally expressed his concern about the review panel conclusion because in 2014 an in-depth and thorough analysis of 47 rowing sites in Japan was conducted in Japan. At the conclusion of this analysis nine potential venues were reviewed in full detail by FISA, TMG and Tokyo 2020, which resulted in the selection of the Sea Forest Water Sports Centre as the only venue in Japan which can meet the requirements for an Olympic Games regatta.

The Sea Forest Water Sports Centre will also provide a strong legacy for the citizens of Tokyo. The Naganuma option was both more expensive and the legacy impact was questionable due to its remote location. The Sea Forest Water Sports Centre project is being designed to serve as a water sports training and recreation area, which will connect the citizens of Tokyo and, in particular, for the new communities of Tokyo near Tokyo Bay, with water and the bay.

Sea Forest Water Sports Centre has been approved by the canoeing and rowing international sports federations, the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Detailed design plans have been approved by both sports. During this visit, the FISA President personally observed that construction work has commenced.

FISA therefore looks forward to fully engaging in continuing to find financial savings and operational efficiencies for Sea Forest while ensuring a world class field of play for Tokyo 2020. It equally looks forward to providing a sustainable and significant legacy for the people of Tokyo from this venue.

[End of press release]

However, according to an article by the news agency Associated Press (AP), published in USA Today yesterday, the Tokyo organisers say that the rowing venue for 2020 should stay at Tokyo Bay. Read more here.

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