It’s a go! Kotani confirms Tokyo Olympics

Joaquin Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Confirmation that the Olympics will push through this year came from no less than Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Mikako Kotani during the Philippine Olympians Association (POC) General Assembly online meeting and elections the other day. Kotani branded as “fake” the recent news of the Games cancellation and said countermeasures against COVID-19 are underway to ensure the Olympics will be “safe and secure for everyone.”

Kotani, the World Olympians Association (WOA) vice president and a Japanese Olympic Committee executive board member, was one of three foreign officials who witnessed the POA proceedings. The others were WOA executive committee member Malav Shroff of India and WOA Asia development manager Jovina Choo of Singapore. Also attending was IOC representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski. Kotani, 54, earned a bronze medal each for the solo and duet events in synchronized swimming at the 1988 Olympics. She went on to represent Japan once more at the 1992 Olympics and in 1997, introduced the resolution to promote Olympic truce before the United Nations General Assembly. As Tokyo 2020 Sports Director, she is the athletes’ voice and coordinates with the International and National Olympic and Paralympic Committees and world sports federations in the overall management of the Games.

Kotani said the coming Olympics will be “simplified” and “different” from previous Games but “Japanese hospitality will never be simplified.” She announced that the torch relay will start on March 25 and testing events will be held in the process of finalizing the first editions of the Olympic Playbooks by April. Kotani mentioned that the torch relay in the springtime will lead to “an exciting summer,” referring to the Tokyo Games on July 23-Aug. 8. “We believe in the power of sports (which) will change the world in the future,” she said.

Choo supervised the elections and announced the final tally of votes from 36 members. Founding and incumbent POA chairman Rafael Hechanova was retained by acclaim. Incumbent POA president Akiko Thomson Guevara was reelected unanimously. Others elected were Roel Velasco, Stephen Fernandez, Monsour del Rosario, Ral Rosario, Jet Dionisio, Jenny Guerrero and Weena Lim. Among those who attended were Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, Kitoy Cruz, Walter Dean Vargas, Lee and Guy Concepcion, Pinky Brosas, Rene Herrera, Jasmine Strachan, Danny Caluag, Miguel Molina, Miguel Mendoza, Christine Jacob, Bea Lucero, Tshomlee Go, Hector Begeo, Rey Fortaleza, Eric Ang, Donnie Geisler, Ronald Chavez, Elma Muros, Henry Dagmit, Mary Joy Tabal, Jessie Lacuna, Lizza Danila, Eva Ditan, Rogen Ladon, Rachelle de la Cruz and Ryan Arabejo.

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