POSTED: August 12th 2009

We are here to win and nothing else, says Tokyo 2016 leader

Man and the message: Ichiro Kono and Tokyo / Tokyo2016
Man and the message: Ichiro Kono and Tokyo / Tokyo2016

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: Tokyo’s 2016 bid team is investing all the passion and energy at its disposal into the attempt to bring back the Olympic Games which it hosted for the first and only previous time in 1964.

That assurance was given by bid chair and chief executive Ichiro Kono in London before he and his team headed to Berlin to continue pressing their case before and during the world athletics championships.

Time is running short for all four contenders for 2016: Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo now have barely more than 50 days before the crucial International Olympic Committee vote in Copenhagen on October 2.

Kono’s remark about “passion and energy” was a reflection of the way in which he believes the Tokyo team have assimilated and adjusted their strategy along the road to Copenhagen.

He said: “When we started out I believed that the most important issues concerned the technical aspects with the venues and the financing. Then, talking to the national federations and to IOC members, we learned that they wanted to feel the passion and energy of our bid.

Popular support

“Perhaps it’s a matter of culture because we can only be ourselves, after all, or the difference sometimes of perception and reality. However now I think we have done our best to show, through the reaction and support of all of our people, that we have a great passion for the both Olympics and for what the movement means to the people of both Tokyo and Japan.”

Kono had come to London from Rome, where he and his bid team attended the world swimming championships.

He believed Tokyo 2016 could draw a winning momentum from events in the Italian capital, saying: “The Japanese swimming team are the latest in a long line of athletes backing our athlete-focused Games plan. It is fitting that one of the Olympic sports we love as a nation is proving n inspiration for the closing stages of our work.

"Right now, approaching the last length of our race for 2016, we are ready for the strong kick-turn which we have been planning since the start of our bid.”

Kono reiterated the message of what Tokyo 2016 believes are its three winning assets: placing the athletes in the heart of the city, cast-iron financial security (“as the world faces an uncertain financial period”) and a 100-year global legacy.

TV audience

Supporting factors included a low crime rate, 23 of the 34 venues already built and a potential 4bn prime-time TV audience spreading the Olympic message.

Hence the confidence with which Kono concluded his message: “We will apply the same energy and commitment of the Japanese swimming team, of all our Olympic and Paralympic athletes and of more than 90m bid supporters, into our final length.

“That is what it takes to win Olympic gold in a competitive field: we are here for nothing else.”

Keywords · Tokyo 2016 · Kono · IOC · Copenhagen · London

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