Tokyo sets sail for 2016


Tokyo sails into uncertain waters this week, according to governor Shintaro Ishihara, as it opens up its 2016 Olympic plans to an IOC evaluation commission.

The visitors from the International Olympic Committee have already visited Chicago and will go on to Rio de Janeiro and Madrid before putting together a report to help the IOC reach its hosting decision in Copenhagen in October.

Work starts officially Thursday and Ishihara, a keen sailor, told a media reception: "This is a precious opportunity as we spend the next four days explaining what Tokyo can offer. At long last the race is on. As an ocean racer, I’ve competed in many races but none this challenging, where it is so difficult to read the wind."

In keeping with Japanese tradition, Ishihara led a Kagamibiraki – cracking open a barrel of sake for good luck.

Responding to the governor’s endorsement, Tokyo 2016 ceo Ichiro Kono said: "Tokyo 2016 is offering the most athlete-focused plans in Games history. The Games in 2016 will deliver the greatest ever environmental and social transformation in the Olympic Movement.

"This will result in a model of sustainable legacy. It perfectly matches the agenda of the Olympic movement in the 21st Century."

Also present for the reception, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, were Chiharu Igaya (IOC vice-president), Shunichiro Okano (IOC member), Tsunekazu Takeda (president of the Japanese Olympic Committee), Tadao Ando (architect) and Japanese Olympians and Paralympians.

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