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Tokyo 2020 details venue plans for new sports

Tokyo 2020 has laid out the proposed venues for the five new sports on the programme for its summer Olympic Games, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today (Friday) repeated its mantra that the current proposed budget for the event is not acceptable.

The IOC in August confirmed that baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing would be added to the programme for Tokyo 2020. The IOC voted unanimously to endorse the decision taken by its executive board in June, wrapping up a two-year process that began with the approval of IOC president Thomas Bach’s Agenda 2020 reform package.

Subject to the final approval of the IOC, Tokyo 2020 today said baseball and softball would mainly take place at Yokohama Stadium; while 1964 Games venue Nippon Budokan would host karate, new structures would be erected on Tokyo Bay for sports climbing and skateboarding, and neighbouring Chiba prefecture would host surfing.

Earlier this week, Toshiro Muto, chief executive of the organising committee for the Games, pledged to keep the total costs of hosting the sporting spectacle below Y2tr (€16.6bn/$17.6bn). Muto’s comments came following the conclusion of an initial three-day meeting with the IOC, during which organisers discussed a number of issues, such as the rising costs of staging the Games and alterations to proposed venues for the event.

The Tokyo metropolitan government last month projected that the total cost could be upwards of Y3tr, with construction costs in the Japanese capital having soared since the city placed its bid in 2011 and secured the Games in 2013.

The IOC is keen to avoid the issues encountered by Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the host of this year’s Olympics, which was forced to make cuts right up to the opening of the Games, as the country went into severe recession after being awarded the event in 2009.

The IOC’s Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020, chaired by vice-president John Coates (pictured), today wrapped up a two-day visit to the capital. Coates said the IOC would not accept the budget currently put forward by Tokyo organisers. He said the Games could be delivered for less and the current figure could scare off cities considering bids for future Olympics.

“The IOC is not in a position to accept a budget of $20bn,” Coates said, according to the Associated Press news agency. “The IOC just isn't going to sign off on a budget which we think exceeds the costs that the Games could be staged for. That would be giving the wrong impression and it would not help us in terms of other candidate cities.”

Tokyo 2020 is yet to disclose an official budget for the Games and this is expected to be released by the end of the year. Coates added: “The IOC and all of the Japanese partners are rowing in the same direction. Our continued close collaboration will ensure that the venue masterplan is finalised quickly; that the significant savings in the Games budget are delivered; and that the local population is left with an important positive legacy from these Games.

“It is particularly pleasing that the revenues of Tokyo 2020 have increased significantly, which will support the achievement of a balanced Organising Committee budget. For the other components relative to the overall budget, we are convinced that significant savings will be made.”