New Tokyo Olympic stadium to be completed in 2019


TOKYO (AP) – The International Olympic Committee says the new stadium for 2020 Tokyo Games will be completed two months earlier than planned to allow organizers time to stage more test events before the games.

Japanese organizers told IOC vice president John Coates during a two-day IOC “project review” that the completion date would be moved from January 2020 to November 2019.

That still won’t be in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which will be staged in Japan from Sept. 20-Nov. 2, 2019.

Work on the stadium fell behind when the government abandoned an earlier design by architect Zaha Hadid because of spiraling costs, sending organizers back to the drawing board. As a result, Rugby World Cup organizers had to scrap plans to use the new national stadium as the center piece for their tournament.

Other than the national stadium delays, Coates said Tokyo’s preparations were going ahead smoothly.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a city more prepared, and I’m prepared to acknowledge that with respect to Sydney,” said Coates, who was involved in organizing the Sydney Games in 2000. “For four years out we couldn’t be happier.”

Five additional sports have been proposed for the Tokyo games; a combined bid of baseball-softball, surfing, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing.

A final decision on which sport or sports are added to the Tokyo program will be made by the IOC in August. Under new IOC rules, a host city can propose the addition of one or more sports to their games.

“They have looked at some prospective venues for surfing and they’ve looked within metropolitan Tokyo for some venues for sports climbing and skateboarding,” Coates said. “But we have not made a decision yet on venues.”

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