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FISA hits out at proposed change for Tokyo 2020 rowing venue

The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has hit out at proposals to change the venue for rowing competitions at the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, saying the current site is the only one that meets proper standards.

Tokyo 2020 had put forward the Japanese capital’s Sea Forest Water Sports Centre as the venue for rowing contests, but the local organising committee and International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week said they would consider relocating certain events as part of a plan to address cost concerns over the Games.

Last month, a panel appointed by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike to find ways to save money on hosting the Games published a report that recommended the venues for rowing and canoeing, swimming and volleyball be moved outside of Tokyo to alternate sites.

Reports have suggested that rowing and canoe events could also be moved to South Korea, should the original hosting plans be scrapped.

However, although FISA said it would support Tokyo 2020 and the IOC in their review of Games venues, it would oppose plans to relocate rowing events outside of Tokyo and that such a move would not be feasible. The sport’s governing body also said that planned work on the Sea Forest Water Sports Centre would benefit residents in the Japanese capital.

“FISA remains of the view that the Sea Forest Water Sports Centre is the only venue in Japan which can meet the requirements for an Olympic Games regatta,” FISA said in a statement. “FISA understands that the Sea Forest Water Sports Centre is being designed to serve as a water sports training and recreation area, which will increase the connection of the citizens of Tokyo with the bay.

“FISA has not been involved in any discussions that might consider other venues outside of Japan. FISA therefore looks forward to 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 helping to provide a sustainable and significant legacy for the people of Tokyo from this venue.”

IOC president Thomas Bach and Koike this week agreed to establish a four-party working group in an effort to address increasing concerns over rising costs for Tokyo 2020. The group was proposed by Bach after a meeting with Koike and will consist of the IOC, Tokyo 2020 local organising committee and the metropolitan and central Japanese governments.

The group is set to meet for the first time after Koike decides by the end of this month on the recommendations put forward by her review panel on spending.