Tokyo 2020 will attract youth, offer gender equality: IOC VP
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Vice President John Coates, front row third right, and other members visit the planned construction site of Aomi Urban Sports Venue for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 in Tokyo Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Jim Armstrong, The Associated Press
Published Friday, June 30, 2017 7:16AM EDT
TOKYO -- IOC Vice-President John Coates says the addition of new sports at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will attract youth and create gender equality without driving up costs.
In an effort to give the games a more youthful and urban appeal, the IOC has added 3-on-3 basketball and BMX Freestyle cycling to the Tokyo program for a net increase of 15 gold medals in a 321-event program.
"Tokyo 2020 will deliver a unique experience to athletes and fans of all ages," Coates said on Friday after wrapping up a three-day evaluation for Tokyo's preparations. The Australian heads the IOC's co-ordination commission for the 2020 games.
There will be eight teams in each of the men's and women's tournaments in the 3-on-3 half-court format which was introduced at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore.
"We recently added 15 events to the Olympic program," Coates said. "They are events delivering greater gender equality and more of an urban and youth focus."
The overall athlete quota for 28 core sports will be 10,616 athletes in Tokyo.
The IOC expects women to account for 48.8 per cent of the athletes in Tokyo. A total of 285 athlete places were cut from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games with track and field losing 105 spots.
"We've added 15 events but have reduced the number of participants by 285 athletes and there will be no new venues required for these events," Coates said.
Last August, the IOC decided to include sports climbing, skateboarding, surfing, baseball and softball, and karate in the Tokyo program.
During his visit, Coates visited the Olympic Village, the Aquatics Center and the National Stadium.
"The new National Stadium is well and truly coming out of the ground, is on budget and will meet the completion time and date of November 2019 which is so important for us," Coates said.
The IOC and Tokyo organizers are eager to use the games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster in Japan's northeastern region.
On Friday, Coates confirmed that the first baseball and softball games involving Japan will be played at Fukushima. where entire communities were displaced after meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, 240 kilometres north of Tokyo, following an earthquake.
After the opening games for the host nation, the remainder of the baseball and softball tournaments will be played at Yokohama Stadium near Tokyo.