Takeda and Mori welcome Asian Winter Games as Sapporo mulls winter Olympics bid
Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games organising committee, and Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and an International Olympic Committee member, are among those welcoming the start of the Asian Winter Game in Sapporo on Sunday, as the Japanese city continues to consider a possible bid to host the winter Olympic Games in 2026.
Takeda said: “The event will showcase Japan’s dynamism to Asian countries and regions with focus on Sapporo – a city where people engage in international exchanges, embrace cultures different from their own, and continue to take on new challenges amid Hokkaido’s beautiful natural environment.
“Asia is certainly gaining importance and presence in the sports world and has now become the most influential area in sport history. It goes without saying that the upcoming three Olympic Games are going to be held in this great continent. As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games coming up within three years with full of attention, the performance of athletes will create the ‘power of sport’ which delivers dreams, hopes and courage to the Japanese public.”
Mori said: “We would also like to send our best wishes to the organisers who will be able in the next eight days to showcase the best of what Sapporo and Japan have to offer: world-class facilities, a centuries-old culture imbued with a modern and cosmopolitan spirit, as well as a unique Japanese kind of hospitality we call ‘omotenashi’.
“For Tokyo 2020, the Sapporo 2017 Asian Winter Games offers the experts we are engaging in various fields, from transportation to medical services, media operations and venue management, an opportunity to gain valuable experience in advance of the Tokyo 2020 Games. For international delegations and sport fans, they will also offer a foretaste of the experience that awaits them at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Last month, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia, said that the mooted bid from Sapporo to host the 2026 winter Olympic Games would have the OCA’s full backing.
Sapporo, host of the 1972 winter Olympics, has submitted plans for an Olympic bid costing ¥430 billion ($3.6 billion) to ¥450 billion to the Japanese Olympic Committee.
Other possible bidders include Sion in Switzerland, cities in Sweden and Norway, and Calgary in Canada, while a feasibility study is being conducted by the Austrian Olympic Committee regarding the state of Tyrol and city of Innsbruck.
The next two winter Olympics are slated for Asia, in PyeongChang in 2018 and Beijing in 2022.
The cities of Sapporo and Obihiro are hosting the Asian Winter Games, which run until 26 February. The games' top-tier gold partners are NTT and Docomo, while the second-tier official partners are Seiko and Alsok.
More than 2,000 athletes from 31 countries are set to compete in five sports, 11 disciplines and 64 events, including athletes from Australia and New Zealand who have accepted an invitation to participate, but who will not be eligible to win medals.Sportcal