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Team GB preparations for Tokyo 2020 well advanced

Team GB’s preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are well on track with key preparation camp venues already booked, Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Association, said in a keynote address at the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2016 conference in Yokohama, Japan.

He told delegates in a keynote closing speech at the event that Team GB will be focussed in the Kawasaki, Yokohama and Kanagawa prefectures near Tokyo in terms of prep camp venues.

These include Todoroki Stadium, Yokohama International Pool and Keio University.

The Todoroki Stadium has an IAAF sanctioned track where top events have been held. Sweeney said:

There are some great facilities around Todoroki Stadium for us to create one of those high performance training venues. This will also probably be one of our medical centres as well.

The Keio University multi-sport complex will host the athletes competing in combat sports, as well as gymnastics and all indoor sports.

We already have signed agreements with these three venues and one of the main reasons for being here in Tokyo is that next week we will take those agreements to the next level.

Sweeney said Team GB had used the problems in the run up to the Games in Rio to give themselves a bit of an extra edge. He added:

We think Tokyo will be an absolutely fantastic games. Maybe the organisation will be too good. We actually quite like it when things aren’t too well organised because it gives us a chance to create an advantage and create an edge for us. We will have to find other ways to create that edge when we come into Tokyo.

We think there will probably be issues at the time of year. In July/August it is going to be really, really hot and really, really humid, so how do we manage that from an athlete’s point of view? Food really needs to be looked into in terms of the special requirements of the athletes. Accommodation will be a challenge.

Also, if you are a young athlete coming to Tokyo for the first time it can be a quite intimidating city. It is large, it’s noisy, it’s bustling, so how do we transition them in in a planned and co-ordinated way so when they come out of the preparation camp they feel they are just ready and not distracted and not put off by the wonderful city of Tokyo.

Sweeney also explained how every city goes through highs and lows in the run up to the Games, with the euphoria of winning the bid to host changing to panic in how to pull it off through planning, organising and delivery of the games.

You then get into the next stage where every conceivable thing that happens in this country, whether it is climate related or disaster related or anything like that will be blamed on the Olympics and you spend a lot of your time managing disappointment and managing criticism about the fact you’re about to host the games.

You will get through that and then you will reconnect with the nation again as you get closer to the games. You will have a fantastic games, there will be a huge celebration and great confidence in terms of what you have pulled off.

The final phase comes when all those people who told you what a stupid idea it was in the first place will then come up and say what a brilliant idea it was and how much they were behind it.

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