National

Swimming federation chief pushes Koike to build new aquatics center for Tokyo Olympics

Kyodo

Cornel Marculescu, executive director of FINA, the international swimming federation, met Tuesday with Gov. Yuriko Koike and requested that Tokyo stick to its initial plan of building a new aquatics center for the 2020 Olympics.

As a representative of the international governing body of swimming, Marculescu visited the metropolitan government building and was joined by Japan Swimming Federation President Tsuyoshi Aoki while he exchanged opinions with Koike regarding the Tokyo panel’s proposal to renovate and use an existing facility rather than build a new one.

Marculescu said a new swimming venue will not only be significant for the 2020 Games, but for leaving a legacy for international events to be held there in the future.

While he spoke of FINA’s willingness to support Tokyo’s cost-cutting efforts, Koike said she is doing everything possible in the best interests of the athletes involved.

“We are trying to determine whether all this, including the operating cost, will serve its purpose after the games are over,” she said.

“Japanese citizens love the sport of swimming, and we want to welcome swimmers from around the world cordially. For that we’ll do all we can,” she said.

A cost review panel suggested using the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center instead of spending ¥68.3 billion for a new aquatics center in Koto Ward, the amount cited in the original plan before the government said it could slash the budget by as much as ¥10 billion.

The venues for swimming, volleyball and rowing/canoe sprint are being reconsidered due to soaring costs, and Koike said she hopes to reach a decision by the end of the month.

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