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Monday, April 20, 2009

Tokyo left IOC team with favorable image

Staff writer

Members of the International Olympic Committee evaluation team said Sunday they were generally impressed with Tokyo, one of the four candidate sites for the 2016 Games, as they wrapped up their four-day inspection of planned facilities.

News photo
Inspection's over: IOC Evaluation Commission Chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel attends a news conference at a Tokyo hotel Sunday. KYODO PHOTO

The members, as per policy, declined to compare Tokyo with its 2016 Games rivals, including Chicago, which they inspected beforehand. The other two cities, which the team will visit next, are Rio De Janeiro and Madrid.

"We were very impressed by the vision, high quality of the presentation and concept that were presented to us regarding the Tokyo bid," IOC Evaluation Commission Chairwoman Nawal El Moutawakel told reporters in Tokyo.

The 13-member team, headed by El Moutawakel, a Moroccan gold-medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, will compile an assessment report that will be made public by Sept. 2, after receiving the site presentations on their inspections.

The IOC will vote in Copenhagen on Oct. 2 to determine the host city for the 2016 Games.

El Moutawakel said she is particularly impressed by the fact that Tokyo plans to put most of its Olympic facilities within an 8-km radius.

Asked if Tokyo's focus on the environment will boost its chances for selection, she only said, "An environment theme is as important as all other themes." There are 17 themes involved in picking the host venue, she added.

El Moutawakel also said the IOC received a pledge from the central and Tokyo Metropolitan Government for financial if the costs of holding the Olympics cannot be met.

The IOC Evaluation Commission is scheduled to leave Japan Monday.

"I am very much satisfied with the visit by the Evaluation Commission," Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said in a news conference immediately after the inspection team's briefing.

"I feel that the visit raised Tokyoites' spirit to support the Olympics bid."

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The Japan Times

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