The government is making final arrangements to tap Daichi Suzuki, who won the men’s 100-meter backstroke at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, as the first chief of a sports agency to be launched next month, sources said Thursday.
Suzuki is seen as best qualified to lead efforts to bolster the performance of Japanese athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, partly because he is widely known in the country as a former star athlete, the sources added.
The 48-year-old gold medalist has expressed readiness to take the offer, according to one of the sources. The source said the government saw his Olympic achievement and relatively young age as assets.
The selection is expected to be finalized by the end of this month. Other names floated for the new government post included 58-year-old Yasuhiro Yamashita, who won a gold medal in judo at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and Saburo Kawabuchi, the 78-year-old chairman of the Japan Basketball Association and former Japan Football Association president.