While visiting with Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike and Japan Swimming Federation President Tsuyoshi Aoki in Japan this week, FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu elaborated on his vision for the 2020 Olympic Games’ aquatics venue.
Earlier this week we reported how, despite cost concerns brought to governmental attention by a Tokyo cost-cutting panel, Marculescu insists that a new aquatic venue is necessary not only for the competition of the Olympic Games, but for a post-2020 legacy.
Instead of considering the use of the existing Tatsumi International Swimming Center, Marculescu is highly encouraging Tokyo 2020 organizers to move forward with the construction of an entirely new facility with an estimated price tag of ¥68.3 billion (~$655M). But, the former Olympic water polo player and referee does reportedly have some advice on how to potentially reduce costs on the new facility.
Marculescu first suggested lowering the hight of the facility’s roof. Then, the FINA board member moved on to seating, as Marculescu says reducing the number of spectator seats is one way to shrink expenditures.
“In principle, we would like to consider again the construction of the seating in the sense that you need to have permanent and…temporary seating. Setting up temporary seats would reduce costs and is much more simple…and easy to take out.” Marculescu also suggested lowering the height of the facility’s roof. (Kyodo News)
The subject of seating was a touchy subject leading up to the most recent Olympic Games in Rio, however, as the host city was forced to reduce its primary pool stadium’s seating due to rising costs. In response, FINA issued a letter to 2016 Rio Olympic Games organizers lashing out at what it described as “substandard” aquatic facilities and “disrespect” for aquatic events.
For 2020’s event, the final decision as to whether to build or repurpose rests with Tokyo governor Koike, but Marculescu is all-in on the legacy argument favoring new construction.
“Legacy is very important. Japan needs, Tokyo needs, the Tokyo population, they need a place where…the young people can go to learn swimming, practice swimming.”
“I think it’s going to be fantastic venue. I still believe that Tokyo needs this venue because swimming and aquatics in general is in continual development, one of the important sports in Japan.”