By David Owen
World Rowing (FISA) President Jean-Christophe Rolland has reacted positively to confirmation that the Tokyo 2020 regatta is, after all, to be staged at the originally designated Sea Forest venue, describing it as "another very picturesque venue to feature rowing near the heart of the Games".
The announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ends a period of confusion for both rowing and canoe sprint, after it emerged late last year that a search was on for an alternative venue.
This was triggered by concerns over the full cost of realising the Sea Forest facility in Tokyo Bay.
insidethegames was told that this was a consequence, chiefly, of additional costs, notably for a factory demolition, that while not necessary from a competition standpoint would be highly desirable to achieve the best possible legacy for the city.
The search took in potential alternatives as much as 400 kilometres away from Tokyo.
While the Sea Forest venue has now been confirmed, associated public comments do not appear to have spelt out how this factory demolition issue is to be handled.
Rolland said that in the light of the IOC's cost-cutting Agenda 2020 initiative, FISA had "worked very closely with the IOC and the Tokyo organisers to find the best solution for our sport, our athletes and the organisers' budget".
He went on: "Being in the area of the iconic Tokyo Bay Bridge, this course will present our sport in a unique way, and the Sea Forest venue will provide a great legacy for Tokyo, enabling easy access for young people to experience the satisfaction of participating in a sport which is so connected to water and the environment."
John Coates, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 and former long-time council member of the rowing governing body, said: "The Sea Forest Waterway is a part of the long-term Sea Forest area development by the city of Tokyo.
"We respect the city's strong long-term investment for the legacy of the city and its citizens.
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has a strong long-term legacy plan for the Sea Forest area and they are using the Games as a catalyst for that development.
"The extra investment for the Games will allow the site to serve as both an elite and grassroots water sports venue in the future."
The new rowing and canoeing facility, to be created from an existing water channel bisecting an island in Tokyo Bay, was costed in the Candidature File at around $78 million (£50 million/€64 million), plus $23 million (£15 million/€19 million) for Games-time overlay.
The file foresaw the construction of temporary equestrian cross-country and mountain bike courses on land to either side of the Sea Forest Waterway.
With the waterway and the equestrian course now confirmed, logic would suggest that mountain biking will remain where it is as well, although it is thought that other cycling changes may yet be unveiled and implemented.
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December 2014: Exclusive: Confusion over Tokyo 2020 rowing venue
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