PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA – The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizing committee is expected to win approval from the International Olympic Committee to add the renovated Azuma Stadium in Fukushima Prefecture for the baseball-softball competition, sources said.
The ballpark lies in an area hard hit by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Because the IOC has indicated an understanding of the desire of organizers to assist in rebuilding disaster areas, the proposal will likely be accepted, the sources said Wednesday.
The IOC’s executive board began a two-day meeting on Thursday in Pyeongchang, the site of next year’s Winter Olympics.
On Friday, Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee, and Toshiro Muto, the CEO, will report on Tokyo’s progress at the meeting.
In December, the IOC declined to add Azuma Stadium to the approved main venue, Yokohama Stadium. But the sources said the executive board is now prepared to accept one stadium as an additional venue.
The committee wants to split the six-team baseball tournament into two groups for the first round, but the World Baseball Softball Confederation wants a full round-robin and one more stadium in the Tokyo metropolitan area to accommodate it.
Although the two parties still appear to be far apart on the competition format, one IOC source said the issues can be debated separately.
“Once the Fukushima venue is approved, we can adjust from there,” the source said.
The executive board is also expected to receive an update on the situation of the 2020 golf venue, Saitama Prefecture’s Kasumigaseki Country Club. The club does not allow women the same membership as men, and the IOC has called the policy unacceptable.
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