POSTED: April 19th 2009

Tokyo makes 2016 cash point

El Moutawakel and Felli: IOC teamwork / Tokyo2016
El Moutawakel and Felli: IOC teamwork / Tokyo2016

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

TOKYO: Tokyo’s citizens will have to wait to find out how effectively their Olympic bid leaders really are working. At least Nawal El Moutawakel, chairwoman of the IOC’s evaluation commission, left no doubt that the Japanese had made a solid point out of the financial guarantees on offer.

If the commission uncovered any weaknesses on its four-day assessment visit then they did not slip out at the halfway stage in its worldwide roadshow.

Chicago and Tokyo have now been ticked off and Rio de Janeiro and Madrid await before the compilation of the report which will be published on September 2 – one month before the full IOC votes in Copenhagen.

El Moutawakel reviewed the work which had involved studying “a load of documents,” visiting the proposed Games sites and venues and being “very impressed by the vision and the high quality of presentations and the very compact concept presented to us.”

Financial reassurance

She acknowledged that the Japanese authorities, from the top down, had presented a far-reaching set of financial guarantees.

“We have heard about the fullest of guarantees from the Prime Minister and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in case of a [costs] shortfall,” said El Moutawakel. “We understand the difficulties during the present financial crisis and the IOC is there to direct and to help provide reassurance for all the forthcoming Olympic Games.

“All the sponsors and business communities are backing these games. The present financial situation but in seven years time things will be different; it will not last forever – though - who knows? - other crisis might arise.”

On the same theme Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s Games director, added: “Considering the time frame in which we are operating we believe the project is a good one for the city as it will provide objectives for the future.”

Legacy concept

El Mouwaketel said she had not noted any weaknesses in a bid presentation which was of “a good standard.”

She also believed Tokyo leaders understood the concept of legacy and was confident that the proposed new stadium – which would be scaled down in capacity from 100,000 to 80,000 after the Games - would not become a white elephant.

The wide-ranging environmental proposals – from the concept of a minus-carbon Games to turning the sea into a forest – would need to be studied in depth ahead of the final report.

El Mouwaketel added: “We were impressed by the compactness, the vision and high quality in terms of thinking to situate everything within 8km to make it easy for athletes, spectators and all the stakeholders.”

Not that the commission had addressed only the positive factors. Felli met representatives of two of the groups which oppose bringing the Games to Tokyo.

Keywords · Tokyo 2016 · International Olympic Committee · IOC · El Mouwaketel · evaluation commission

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