x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tokyo will host 2020 Olympic Games

Japanese capital will also be home to Paralympics in 2020 after seeing off rivals Madrid and Istanbul in dramatic circumstances.

Members of the Japanese bid committee celebrate as Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee announces Tokyo as the city to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Members of the Japanese bid committee celebrate as Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee announces Tokyo as the city to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

BUENOS AIRES // Tokyo will host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 after seeing off rivals Madrid and Istanbul in dramatic circumstances to win the vote.

It will be the second time the Japanese capital has hosted the Games having previously done so in 1964.

The vote by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Buenos Aires saw Tokyo win the first round of voting with Istanbul and Madrid polling the same number of votes.

A tie-break saw Madrid eliminated by four votes to set up a final round between Istanbul and Tokyo with the Japanese city emerging triumphant.

Tokyo won by 60 votes to 36 in the final round of voting – a comprehensive victory which came despite some IOC members expressing concern over leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant, which is 150 miles from the capital.

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe tackled the issue head-on in Tokyo's final presentation, promising the IOC: "I shall take the responsibility to implement programmes to render this situation completely problem-free and I say that most emphatically and unequivocally."

Tokyo's cause was helped in no small way by the presence of Cambridge-educated Princess Hisako of Takamado, the first member of the Japanese Imperial family to have ever addressed the IOC, and a bravura performance in its final presentation Mima Sato, who lost a leg following bone cancer and competed in the long jump at the 2012 Paralympics.

For Istanbul, bidding for the fifth time, there was bitter disappointment yet again.

The Turkish city had been the frontrunner for so long but suffered a series of damaging blows later in the campaign: the protests in Taksim Square in June – a proposed Games venue – a major doping scandal, the jailing of political opponents and journalists last month and the rising threat of war in next-door Syria.

Madrid had high hopes for their royal trump card in the form of Crown Prince Felipe, a former Olympic sailor, but even his contribution could not convince enough of the IOC voters.

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