TOKYO (AP) — The $1.4 billion Tokyo national stadium, built by the Japanese government for last year’s Olympics, is being viewed as a site for track and field’s world championships.
An inspection team from World Athletics — the governing body of the sport — met with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on Wednesday and was to tour the stadium on Thursday.
Eugene, Oregon is the venue in July for the next World Championships, which were postponed from 2021 to make way for the Olympics. Budapest, Hungary, is set for 2023.
The venues for 2025 and 2027 are undecided with Tokyo, Nairobi, Kenya, and Australia having expressed interest.
Tokyo must be considered as a favorite.
Sebastian Coe, the head of World Athletics, said last year in Japan that he hoped to bring the championships to the city. Coe is not known to be in Tokyo this time. Many of World Athletics’ sponsorship deals are brokered through Dentsu Inc., the giant Japanese advertising and public relations company.
Three of the top four World Athletics’ sponsors are Japan-based companies: athletic apparel manufacturer Asics, watchmaker Seiko, and Japanese electronics company TDK. The other is the Qatar National Bank.
Dentsu was the main driver in lining up more than $3 billion in local sponsorship for the Tokyo Olympics and is a powerful player in Japanese business, politics and media. Much of Dentsu’s clout is in sports marketing and handling issues around broadcast rights.
Tokyo held the World Championships in 1991 and Osaka was the venue in 2007.
Coe, a two-time Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist and a former member of the British Parliament, is a powerful player in his own right and is viewed as possible successor to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. Bach’s term ends in 2025.
The Japanese city of Sapporo is also among the favorites to land the 2030 Winter Olympics. It is competing with Salt Lake City and Vancouver.
The IOC is expected to name the Winter Olympics venue in May 2023 during meetings Mumbai, India. It could also make a dual award and name the 2034 host city.
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