Tokyo, 15 July 2009 – A high-level Tokyo 2016 delegation, led by Chair and CEO, Dr. Ichiro Kono, will be in Rome from Friday to offer its support to athletes competing in the 13th FINA World Championships, where Japan is fielding a 52-strong national squad. On Sunday Dr. Kono will travel to Tampere, Finland to attend the 10th European Youth Olympic Summer Festival.

Dr. Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said:
“We are simply thrilled to be travelling to Rome to experience this superb event with swimming fans from across the world. Tokyo 2016 is committed to inspiring young people to get more active and give their best through sport and I’m sure seeing the world’s finest swimmers in action is a great way to achieve this.”

In Japan, a whole new generation of swimmers are stirring as the result of the performances of stars such as four-time Olympic breaststroke champion, Kosuke Kitajima, and teenage sensation, 19 year-old Ryosuke Irie.

Tokyo’s Bid to host the most compact, sustainable and athletes’ focused Olympic and Paralympic Games in history is using the excitement surrounding these sports heroes to build further momentum for its Olympic and Paralympic dream.

Tokyo 2016 will help to grow swimming’s support and participation base globally, tapping into its status as one of Japan’s most popular sports. Key promotional points will include the ease of access to facilities in the heart of major cities and the health benefits of the sport.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is enhancing and promoting facilities at the heart of city life in Japan’s capital as part of the world’s most comprehensive metropolitan makeover ‘Tokyo Big Change: the 10 Year Plan’, which aims to create an urban environment where everyone can enjoy a happier and healthier life through sport.

The transformation will be complete by 2016 ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, providing Tokyo 2016 with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the catalyst for connecting and inspiring a new generation of youth with sport on the back of heroic performances at the world’s greatest sports event.

The 13th FINA World Championships will be held in Rome, Italy from 17 July to 2 August 2009.
The 10th European Youth Olympic Summer Festival will be held in Tampere, Finland from 18 to 25 July 2009.

For further information, please contact:

Masa Takaya (Mr), Manager, International Communications, Tokyo 2016