November 28, 2018 / 8:30 AM / 12 days ago

Bach heaps praise on 'well prepared' Tokyo for 2020 Games

TOKYO (Reuters) - International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach says he cannot remember a host city being as well prepared as Tokyo, a little more than 600 days before the start of the 2020 Summer Games.

FILE PHOTO: IOC President Thomas Bach, flanked by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, meets with students who play baseball and softball as he visits at Azuma Baseball Stadium in Fukushima, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 24, 2018. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

The German visited the offices of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organisers on Wednesday, lavishing praise on the hosts for their readiness to host the summer showpiece.

“We see already now, two years before these Olympic Games, all the ingredients for successful Olympics Games are in place,” said Bach, who is in Tokyo to attend an IOC Executive Board meeting that begins on Friday.

“We’re really very impressed about progress in the preparations that we have been experiencing here.

“I cannot remember any Olympic city being so well and so much advanced two years before the Games as Tokyo 2020 is.”

Bach’s words are sure to warm the hearts of Games organisers, who have overcome a swathe of initial fears to get preparations on track ahead of the competition, which begins on July 24, 2020.

In 2015, Tokyo 2020 scrapped their initial Games logo due to allegations of plagiarism and the original design for a new Olympic stadium was also changed due to overwhelming costs.

However, since budget cuts of $300 million were announced in December 2017, Tokyo 2020 organisers have had a relatively pain-free ride.

One area where questions remain is over Tokyo’s ability to host a Summer Games in scorching temperatures, which reached a record 41.1 degrees Celsius in July this year.

With average summer temperatures in the Japanese capital higher than 30 degrees Celsius since 1998, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, organisers have been searching for counter-measures.

Few hard policies have actually been announced and there remains uncertainty over start times for the men’s and women’s marathons but Bach was not concerned.

“The measures are being prepared and there is a closer cooperation with the organising committee,” he added. “We had a special working group with medical people, with medical scholars. They are proposing some measures.”

Bach is due to give a speech on the second day of the Association of National Committees General Assembly on Thursday.

Reporting by Kwiyeon Ha; Writing by Jack Tarrant; Editing by John O'Brien

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