Questions on sailing, triathlon remain for 2020 : IOC's Coates

By Elaine Lies
Reuters

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo 2020 still faces questions on judo, sailing and triathlon, where issues about water quality in particular remain unresolved, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates said on Tuesday with just over two years to prepare.

Coates, who is also chairman of the IOC's Coordination Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Games, on Monday said Tokyo must answer tough questions from national Olympic committees or risk losing confidence in their ability to host the games.

The stakes are especially high given the success of the Pyeongchang Winter games earlier this year, he said at the end of a two-day Project Review meeting in Tokyo.

"We experienced a wonderful Winter Games in Pyeongchang, we saw your Japanese team produce some wonderful performances but now you are the next host city," he said, adding that this would require them to be forthright as the clock ticked down and urgency grows for answers.

"I think the questions are going to increasingly come, particularly from the 206 national Olympic Committees who want to know about the best arrangements for their athletes."

Among the competitions facing questions are judo and sailing and triathlon, where the water quality has been under scrutiny.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said in October that tests showed levels of E. Coli up to 20 times above the accepted limit and fecal coliform bacteria seven times higher than agreed at the planned venue for marathon swimming and triathlon.

To deal with this, organizers have said they will install underwater screens at Odaiba Marine Park to limit the amount of bacteria flowing from offshore during rainy periods and have already conducted a number of tests.

"Triathlon was still concerned about water quality and we received a presentation about experiments that will take place this year and next year, better screening into the water and putting curtains," he said.

"We very pleased by the attention that's being given to that."

Judo was concerned about procedural events ahead of the Games, while sailing was worried about the impact local fishermen might have on their practice sessions, he added.

Games organizers have also been working to cut costs after a 2016 study warned expenses could balloon to four times the original estimate in the bid documents, a process that Coates said would continue as additional areas came under scrutiny.

The Tokyo Games start on July 24, 2020.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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