Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Sapporo mulls shifting Games bid to 2030

AFP, TOKYO

Japan’s northern city of Sapporo is considering changing its bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics to 2030, when transportation links will have improved, a city official said yesterday.

The majority of Olympic and local officials, as well as business leaders, believe “the 2030 option will be a better environment to host the Games,” city official Akihiro Okumura told reporters.

The comment came after Japanese media reported that the city would “soon” tell International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland, that it wanted to shelve its 2026 bid.

Sapporo Deputy Mayor Takatoshi Machida and Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda are to visit Bach, when they would discuss an earthquake last week near Sapporo that killed 41 people, Okumura said.

“I can’t predict whether they would discuss” the possible change of plan to 2030, he said.

However, the city on the northern island of Hokkaido would have better transportation links by 2030, as the country’s Shinkansen bullet train network would be extended to Sapporo, Okumura added.

There is also a feeling that the 2026 Winter Games might go elsewhere after a period dominated by Asia.

This year’s Winter Olympics were held in South Korea, the 2022 edition is fixed for Beijing and the 2020 Summer Games are to be hosted by Tokyo.

Competing to host the 2026 Games are Calgary, Canada; Stockholm; and Graz, Austria, with Italy also putting in a multicity bid.

The winner is to be chosen in Milan, Italy, in September next year.

The US cities of Denver and Salt Lake City have reportedly voiced interest in hosting the Games in 2030.

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