Tokyo, Aug 25 (IANS) International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Vice President Duane Kale said on Sunday that Tokyo would set new standards for the games when the Japanese capital hosts the next Paralympics in 2020.
However, he also admitted in an interview that challenges remain for the event scheduled to kick off in less than a year’s time.
A former Paralympics swimmer from New Zealand, Kale is presently in Tokyo reviewing the preparations for the games to be held between August 25 and September 6, 2020.
He is attending a series of events marking the beginning of the countdown for the mega sporting event which will begin after the end of the Summer Olympics, also to be hosted by Tokyo, Efe news reported.
Kale said the organisers were doing an “incredible” job, and the popular anticipation and media interests were “higher in Tokyo than what it was in London (2012) one year prior to the games.”
“That’s the thing about sports; records are set to be broken. It is said that London set the new benchmark, new standards. Tokyo is very well prepared to set a new standard of what the Paralympics are,” he said.
However, he added that challenges remained, listing problems such as concerns over pollution in the Tokyo Bay waters, which could affect the paratriathlon, and the lack of accommodation adapted to the needs of the differently abled.
Kale said the organising committee was “already working very hard” on the water quality issue to ensure the safety of the athletes.
“We know we can put on more screening facilities to make it a safer environment for triathlon athletes,” he said, referring to the measures adopted by the organisers to check the levels of harmful bacteria in the water.
Excessive levels of E Coli bacteria had forced the cancellation of the swimming section of a paratriathlon test event in the Tokyo Bay last week, raising concerns over the reappearance of water pollution in the area after it was first detected in 2017 following which countermeasures were taken.
Regarding suitable accommodations, Kale said Tokyo currently had only around half of the number of disabled-friendly hotel rooms needed for the visitors expected to attend the event.
He said that Japanese authorities had approved fresh laws to force hotels to include rooms and bathrooms completely adapted to the needs of the differently abled, adding that the norms, expected to come into affect before the games, would leave a lasting legacy for the city.