The Daily Manila Shimbun


2 Years to Go: Some Competition Finals May Be Held in Morning

August 5, 2018

Tokyo- The chief of an International Olympic Committee panel says athletes will need to adapt to competition schedules different from the usual at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, suggesting that some finals may be held in the morning.

Event schedules for main competitions at the Tokyo Olympics, including swimming, gymnastics and athletics, will be decided from a global point of view, John Coates, chairman of the IOC's Coordination Commission for the Tokyo Olympics, said in a recent interview with Jiji Press in Tokyo.

The panel will "make sure a good balance between in the morning and in the evening, (between) what is good in big markets and what is good for here," Coates said.

"When events were held in the morning in Beijing (in the 2008 Olympics), that made no differences to my Australians who were prepared for that," Coates, who hails from Australia, said. "It is just a battle for preparing."

Preparations for the quadrennial sporting events are going well and the IOC is "fine-tuning for competition schedules and ticket prices in the Executive Board," he said.

On cost management for the Tokyo Olympics, Coates pointed to cost reduction plans proposed by the organizing committee of the Tokyo Games.

These plans include about 30 cost-saving measures based on the IOC's New Norm guidelines for affordable games and would enable cost cuts of some 100 million dollars. Such measures include reducing the size of lounge spaces for VIPs and bus parking areas to transport athletes and related people.

The measures are currently under review by the IOC. "I am sure most of them will be approved," Coates said.

In recent years, a series of doping incidents involving Japanese athletes have tarnished the clean image of the Japanese sports world.

"Japan has a very strong reputation in terms of integrity," Coates said. Noting that there was an example of violation in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, he said, "I am sure it has been well addressed."

On the meanings of the Tokyo Games, he said, "Certainly this is an opportunity for Japan to refocus, for young people to refocus," after the country's northeastern coast was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Media reports have suggested that the IOC has been actively involved in efforts for reconciliation between North and South Korea.

Coates denied such claims. "The IOC can't make reconciliation. That is a political outcome," he said.

"The IOC did whatever they could to pave the way for North Korea to participate in the games" in sporting terms, he said.

Asked about the possibility of the two Koreas forming combined teams for some competitions at the 2020 Olympics, Coates said that would be a reality in some sports but not in every one.

"North Korea is very strong in football so I think they would want to compete on their own," Coates said.

"There are some unified teams we are going to see in the Asian Games in Jakarta" this summer, Coates said. "We will see how that develops between now and in 2020." Jiji Press