Controversial Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose made a strong pitch for his city to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games at the SportsAccord international convention on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Russia. Inose, chairman of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – and in the presence of bid rivals Istanbul and Madrid – that his city would play its role as Olympic host full of passion, friendship and respect.
This was the first time that the three bid cities presented their bids to an international audience. The IOC is expected to select the venue for the quadrennial summer sports spectacle at a committee meeting on September 7.
In the firing line last April for his controversial comments about Istanbul’s bid, Inose tried his best to restore Tokyo’s – and his – reputation following the gaffe in an interview published by The New York Times. “I understand that many people are saying that our bid is the safe option in this campaign,” Inose said. “What I don’t understand is why some people seem to think that this could be a bad thing.” Apart from his efforts to bring back some of the lost luster of the Tokyo bid, Inose also played up Tokyo’s financial strength. Tokyo, he said, has already set aside 4.5 billion US dollars in an Olympic hosting fund, aiming with these efforts to bring the Summer Olympics back to Asia after Beijing 2008. “This is cash in the bank. Ready right now to pay for all new permanent venues and infrastructure,” he said.
Inose said after his presentation that he thought it was “received well, given audience reactions, applause and laughter.” Japanese fencer Yuki Ota, silver medalist in Beijing and London, joined the presentation saying that Tokyo will offer safety and security for the Olympics. Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Tokyo bid committee, finished the presentation. “I think we got our message across,” Takeda said later. “We put in the practice and I think it went well. We put passion into our appeal.”
[via The Republic]