TOKYO, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) — International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach extended congratulations to newly elected Tokyo 2020 organizing committee chief Hashimoto Seiko, praising her as the “perfect choice.”
Bach said in a statement, “My heartfelt congratulations go to my fellow Olympian Hashimoto Seiko on her appointment as President of the Organising Committee Tokyo 2020. With her great Olympic experience, having won a medal, participated in seven editions of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Winter Games, and having led Japan’s delegation to the Olympic Games multiple times, she is the perfect choice for this position.
“She will ensure that the focus in the final months of preparation remains on the athletes’ experience while planning all the necessary COVID-19 countermeasures.
Bach said that the 56-year-old Hashimoto can draw on her rich political experience as the Olympics minister, a position she had held from 2019 until Thursday morning.
Hashimoto, who competed in four winter Olympics and three summer editions, was approved as the Tokyo 2020 head by the organizing committee’s executive board, replacing Yoshiro Mori who quit last week after making sexist comments.
“Today I am honored to be appointed President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee,” Hashimoto said. “With five months to the Games, this role is an immense and sobering responsibility.
“Looking ahead to the summer, we must make safety the ultimate priority and do everything possible to prepare a Games where everyone may feel safe and secure.”
She promised to further the cause of gender equality and approach this question with a sense of urgency and within the month set forth a system for implementation and begin delivering results.
“As we approach the first postponed Games in history, Tokyo 2020 will do everything in our power to share a potential vision for a new era of the Games,” she said.
Her best performance as an Olympian was a bronze medal in the 1,500 meters speed skating in the 1992 Albertville Olympics in France. She retired after taking part in the cycling event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Hashimoto, Japan’s chef de mission at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, resigned from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s cabinet as Olympics minister on Thursday morning, paving the way to take up her new post.
Suga believes that Hashimoto will help Tokyo deliver a successful Olympic Games.
“I hope that she can work hard to realize the ideals of the Olympics and Paralympics with her rich experience as a seven-time Olympian,” he said.
Tamayo Marukawa, a former television anchor and a member upper house of Japan’s National Diet, will start her second spell as the country’s Olympics minister, a position she held from 2016 to 2017.
Tokyo governor Koike Yuriko also spoke highly of Hashimoto’s appointment, saying her government has “high expectations” that she will approach operating the Games from an athlete’s perspective as well.
Yuriko said that Tokyo will “take every possible measure” to stop the spread of COVID-19, and continue working closely with Hashimoto and all parties concerned to realise the safe and secure Games. Enditem