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Australian reaction to Tokyo 2020 win

8 September 2013

2020: AOC President John Coates has congratulated Tokyo on winning the right to host the 2020 Olympics saying “the IOC has put the Games back in safe hands”. 

Coates said the doping problems in Spain and Turkey worked against the other bid cities  Istanbul and Madrid. 

“On the other hand the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Abe, received tough questions about the  problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant and he absolutely nailed it and put it to bed”Coates  said.

“It was a very good vote for the IOC in terms of its safe, secure and technically the best bid. 

Tokyo won’t have the troubles they are having presently in Rio to be quiet frank”.

“It is a good result for Australia, we perform really well in Asia it is going to be a lot easier  for our athletes because of the time zone” Coates said.

Tokyo trounced Istanbul 60 votes to 36 in the final round of voting at the IOC Session in  Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The third bid city, Madrid, was eliminated in the first round of voting.

Tokyo was seen as a safe bet by the IOC with Istanbul bordering the civil war in Syria and  also hampered by protests at home and a string of positive drug tests amongst its athletes this  year.

Madrid was disadvantaged by the economic woes in Spain as well as a long history of doping particularly in cycling.

Coates does not believe Australian athletes will have any fears about competing in Tokyo because of Fukushima which was damaged in the tsunami of 2011.

“The Japanese Government has given us a commitment to fix the problem” he said. 

The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to Buenos Aires to assure the IOC members that Fukushima “poses no problem whatsoever”.

He told delegates “Tokyo is the safest city  in the world, now and in 2020. Some may have concerns but the situation is under control, it will never do any damage to Tokyo”. 

Australia’s most senior IOC member, Kevan Gosper, said the timing was all wrong for Istanbul with the unrest in Syria and the demonstrations on the streets in Istanbul.

“The IOC members wanted safe hands and the Japanese were the best option. They won on every front, they did not put a foot wrong it was an excellent package. They worked and learned from their previous bids” Gosper said. 

Coates also upped the ante on Australian television stations thinking about purchasing the rights to the Games. “Tokyo will mean great television coverage for our athletes” he said.

Mike Tancred in Buenos Aires
Olympics.com.au @AUSOlympicTeam

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