POSTED: March 30th 2012

Tokyo 2020: HSBC Sevens World Series kicks off in the bid city

New Zealand captain D.J. Forbes
New Zealand captain D.J. Forbes "likes" Tokyo and would like to come back and play there / Tokyo 2020

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

TAMPA: The Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium in Tokyo is hosting the HSBC Sevens Series this weekend in the Japanese capital city March 31 and April 1. This makes the seventh of nine legs in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Tsunekazu Takeda, head of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) and Tokyo 2020, said, "I am pleased that Japan is hosting yet another one of the world's most international sporting events. Considering the global audience that such competitions attract, top-class facilities and organisation are prerequisites.

“Tokyo is well-equipped to stage leading global sports events thanks to its winning combination of proven success, strong infrastructure and incredible venues. Tokyo is fully capable of staging the biggest sporting event of all in the heart of the city in 2020, where Rugby Sevens could provide many headlines."

The Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Stadium served as a football venue during the ’64 Games and now serves as home to the Japan Rugby Football Union.

If Tokyo were to be chosen as host city for the 2020 Games it would also allow the sport of rugby to focus on growth in the Asian continent.

International Rugby Board (IRB) chief, Bernard Lapasset, noted, “These are exciting times for the ongoing development of Rugby in Asia. Participation has increased by 18 per cent since RWC 2007 with more men, women and children engaging in the sport than ever before.

“We are investing more than £150 million worldwide and £8.7 million in Asia between 2009 and 2012 to ensure that more men, women and children can enjoy a sport that brings people together through values of integrity, respect and solidarity.

“We are also seeing and harnessing the massively positive effects of Olympic Games inclusion with our Asian Unions forging strong relationships with their respective National Olympic Committees to unlock support.”

Tokyo appeal

New Zealand Captain, D.J. Forbes, remarked about the event, "Tokyo is quite a beautiful country. It is nice and clean and the people are very welcoming here. I've done some sight-seeing and jogging, and there's no reason why I wouldn't want to come here and do a sport."

"As far as the whole Sevens atmosphere goes, it's like a party," said South Africa Captain Kyle Brown.

"Tokyo is all about good accessibility to stadiums and hotels for the convenience of fans. I definitely think the city has the ability to put on a good show in Tokyo 2020. I went to a coaching clinic yesterday and 168 kids showed up. With a couple more years of practicing these kids are going to be great. They understand the game and have good skills and most of all their work ethic is unbelievable; they don't stop running until they are told to stop. It's really good to see rugby here in Tokyo."

Japan Captain, Takayuki Yamauchi, talked about the legacy, "It is a great honour for Japan to host this marvellous tournament. This is another important step for Japan in its long and prosperous relationship with global rugby, especially following the announcement that Japan will host Rugby World Cup 2019. With Rugby Sevens now set as an Olympic competition from 2016, it would be wonderful if Tokyo hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, allowing us an opportunity to perform the dynamic and exciting performances at home again."

Tokyo is bidding against Baku, Doha, Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 summer Olympics. The final decision will be voted at the IOC session in September 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Keywords · Tokyo 2020 · HSBC Sevens Series · Tsunekazu Takeda · Bernard Lapasset · rugby

For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()

All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.