Tokyo 2020 torchbearers would carry Olympic flame through tsunami zone

Tuesday, 02 July 2013
By David Owen at the Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne

Naoki Inose joggingJuly 2 - Olympic torchbearers would run through the area affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 if Tokyo wins its bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Naoki Inose, Governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, made the disclosure at a media event here, base of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today.

Tokyo and its two rivals in the 2020 race - Madrid and Istanbul - will present their bids behind closed doors to a near full house of the 100 IOC members tomorrow, with the three presentations set to be followed by potentially gruelling question and answer sessions.

At today's event, Inose and Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and Tokyo 2020 President, appeared to be striving hard to put a personal slant on their contributions, in the spirit of Sebastian Coe's recollection of his formative athletics experiences in Sheffield that formed part of London 2012's groundbreaking final presentation in Singapore in 2005.

Inose spoke at length about the build-up to his first marathon at the age of 65 in February and his three kilometre jog around Lake Geneva here yeterday (pictured top). 

Tokyo 2020 team in Lausanne July 2 2013Tokyo's bid team prepare for their presentation to the IOC Extraordinary Session tomorrow

Takeda explained with some passion how watching the first Tokyo Olympics as a high school student in 1964 had infused him with confidence, pride and courage.

"It was quite a big emotional experience for me," he said.

"We would like to provide an opportunity for young people again to feel the same way."

Turning to the 2011 disaster, he spoke of how the procession of Olympians who visited the affected areas put "fantastic smiles" on the faces of children there.

"At this time I began to see, 'Oh, this is the power of sport'," he said.

The Tokyo 2020 representatives also laid much emphasis on the safety and financial security offered by Japan - and by the city's latest bid - as they have done throughout the current bid process.

Inose underlined that the city had "not touched a penny" of the $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion/€3.3billion) fund created "before the Lehman collapse" for the purpose of Tokyo's unsuccessful 2016 bid.

"This $4.5 billion fund has a lot of leeway, a lot of room for us to deliver the Games," Inose said.

Contact the writer of this story at david.owen@insidethegames.biz
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