Thu | Jan 17, 2019

'Speak to us' - IOC warns Tokyo 2020 organisers

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2018 | 12:00 AM
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates (left) and Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, shake hands after their joint press conference in Tokyo yesterday.


The head of an IOC inspection team urged organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be more direct in answering questions about progress and planning yesterday.

The advice from John Coates, which followed a two-day inspection tour, came a week after several sports federations openly criticised Tokyo's preparations. The games are just over two years away.

Coates said work is largely on track, but said organisers have hesitated to fully explain their planning. Coates hinted at cultural differences between his direct Australian style and the more reserved Japanese.

"You just have to answer the questions, and be forthright in doing so," Coates said, sitting next to organising committee president Yoshiro Mori - a former Japanese prime minister - and CEO Toshiro Muto.

They both sat still and showed little emotion.

"It might not always be in your nature, but I think the questions are going to increasingly come," Coates added.

Mori was asked about the advice Coates gave him in private.

"There were so many items," Mori replied. "Some specific advice. I don't think I'm able to single out one point, or two points. There were many points."

Unlike some Olympics, expectations are high that Tokyo will deliver efficiently and on time. But organisers have hesitated to explain their progress to the satisfaction of some sports federations and national Olympic committees.

That prompted direct questions last week from the heads of world sailing, judo and triathlon.

World sailing head, Andy Hunt, suggested planning for his event might be a year behind and complained about problems with fishing fleets working in what will be the venue for sailing.

"There are a number of things where they (organisers) are making great progress, but until it's finalised they will not present it," said Christophe Dubi, executive director of the Olympic Games. "That's the issue."

Coates warned that the organisers could be bombarded with questions when 206 national Olympic committees meet in November in Tokyo.