NOCs confident Tokyo 2020 can
overcome heat, water quality issues
Send a link to a friend
[August 20, 2019]
By Jack Tarrant
TOKYO (Reuters) - Searing heat and
water quality issues have dogged Tokyo 2020 organizers in recent
weeks but delegates to a Chef de Mission seminar on Tuesday said
they are confident their hosts will find solutions ahead of next
year's Summer Olympics.
The three-day visit by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), which
includes a progress update and venue tour, comes after recent test
events highlighted potential problems for next year's Games, which
kick off on July 24.
Soaring temperatures have killed at least 57 people across Japan
since late July, highlighting the possible health threat to athletes
At the triathlon test event last week, the sport’s governing body
reduced the distance of the run segment in the women’s race because
of heat concerns.
The swimming segment of Saturday’s paratriathlon was canceled
altogether because high levels of E.coli bacteria were found in the
water of Tokyo Bay.
However, Dutch Chef de Mission Pieter van den Hoogenband, a
three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer, said the NOCs were
confident in Tokyo 2020’s ability to overcome the issues.
“Of course we know there are some heat issues but overall, for all
the different teams, these are the circumstances and we have to deal
with it,” said van den Hoogenbrand, who represented the NOCs during
a visit to the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.
“Top athletes know that they have to perform in any circumstances.
"Because of the test events, we get a lot of information and a lot
of data and the way the organizing committee is taking all that data
to make it even more perfect ... I was impressed with the way they
[to top of second column]
Summer sunshine is seen through Olympic rings displayed at
Nihonbashi district in Tokyo, Japan August 5, 2019. REUTERS/Issei
Single-layer underwater screens installed in Tokyo Bay have helped
reduce the bacteria, organizers have said, but triple-layer screens
will be in place by the time the Games begin.
Tokyo 2020 also confirmed on Tuesday that South Korea's NOC had sent
a letter to organizers expressing concern at the possibility of
produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in
the Olympic village.
South Korea says it is worried that any food produced in Fukushima
could be contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
that was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
“Within our planning framework we will respond to them accordingly,”
said Tokyo 2020’s Director of NOC Services Toru Kobayashi.
“We have said that we will respond to them properly. We have had no
further questions (from South Korea)."
Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years,
with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation
for Koreans forced to work during Japan's wartime occupation of
(Additional reporting by Yoko Kono; editing by Peter Rutherford)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.