• Kyodo


The head of swimming’s international governing body says he is not expecting the new aquatics center for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to have any of the headaches that organizers in Rio were forced to deal with.

“Our executive director came here one month ago, talking with the governor of the city and we agree with the condition they propose,” FINA President Julio Cesar Maglione said after meeting Monday with 2020 organizing committee chief Yoshiro Mori.

“I visited the place where they are beginning to build the new swimming pool and I don’t doubt that it will have all the requirements for an excellent championship, because the last condition in Rio was different,” Maglione said. “We are sure that it will be fine here.”

The swimming pool in Rio was mired with issues such as construction delays and the water turning green, with some swimmers complaining about the smell of the water.

Tokyo is weighing two options for its pool, a 20,000-seat venue and one with 15,000 seats to be built near the existing Tatsumi International Swimming Center.

The post-Olympics construction that was to reduce the seating to 5,000 has been scrapped as part of cost-cutting measures being enforced by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

When FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu met with Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike last month, he pushed hard for a new arena and not to simply renovate Tatsumi.

Mori reiterated to Maglione that the organizing committee is in full agreement with FINA about building a state-of-the-art aquatics center for 2020.

“I received specific advice on the new aquatics center from the executive director when he was here in October,” Mori said. “We are a big swimming nation, but we don’t have the fantastic facility we should have. We need to cooperate so we can leave behind the fantastic facility we need.”

The Asian swimming championships, held through Sunday in Tokyo, had to be spread over two venues, Tatsumi and the pool in the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

Maglione was happy with the organization of the championships itself, but made it clear the swimming competition in 2020 would be even better with the world-class facilities that Tokyo has pledged to deliver.

“They broke 39 records at the championships. Swimming is growing all around the Asian continent. Japan is especially growing, growing now and will in the Olympic Games,” Maglione said of the weeklong meet.

“President Mori is a very serious person and a very honorable person. They have an excellent team and as I said before, I don’t doubt that 2020 will be a big success. It will be an excellent Olympic Games.”

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