13:04 8 September 2013
Tokyo jubilant over successful 2020 Olympics bid
By Ryotaro Nakamaru
TOKYO, Sept. 8, Kyodo
The mood in Tokyo was ecstatic early Sunday as the city was chosen to host the 2020 Summer Olympics by the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires.
Close to 2,000 people watching a live broadcast of the IOC's general session on a large screen at the Komazawa Olympic Park gymnasium erupted in cheers as IOC President Jacques Rogge opened the envelope holding the results of voting and read the city's name at around 5:20 a.m.
"I was overwhelmed. I was on the verge of tears," said 20-year-old Minori Nakano.
Gold ticker tape shot over the crowd as it celebrated the result. Some cried while others hugged or shouted with joy.
Many in the crowd had spent the night at the gymnasium, built for the wrestling competition at the 1964 Tokyo Games, ahead of the vote by IOC members.
"I've been here since 10 o'clock last night because I didn't want to miss the moment," said Sachiko Noguchi, 37.
"This is what we've been waiting for. The Olympic sites being built will be something to look forward to. I'm glad I live in Tokyo!" she said.
Kikuo Otabe, 68, said he had worked as a volunteer at the 1964 Games when he was a university student.
"Back then, we had a mind to turn our eyes to the world. I'm very happy (that Tokyo was chosen) because I want children, my grandchildren, young people, to also turn their eyes abroad and spread their wings," he said.
When asked about concerns over the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, he said, "I'm not one hundred percent convinced of (the plant's) safety, but it's a situation that all Japanese people need to make an effort to improve."
Tokyo's bid, at one point thought to have a comfortable lead, was seen jeopardized by the revelations of toxic water leaks at the plant devastated by the March 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster, located about 250 kilometers northeast of the Japanese capital.
But Tokyo beat Istanbul 60-36 in a runoff to decide the host city after topping the first round of balloting, which saw Madrid eliminated after the city lost to Istanbul in a tiebreak vote.
Elsewhere, members of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee celebrated their successful campaign at a convention hall in central Tokyo with cheers of "Banzai!"
"I hope children will continue whatever sport they're doing and aim to be in the Olympics," three-time Olympic gold medal wrestler Saori Yoshida said, teary-eyed, at a hall in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward where some 700 people were watching a live broadcast of the IOC's announcement.
Hiromi Miyake, silver medalist in weightlifting at last year's London Games, said, "This is so exciting. I hope it'll be a historic and memorable Olympics."
Tokyo will be the first Asian city to host the Olympics twice. The 2020 Games will be the fourth Olympics to be staged in Japan, which also hosted the Winter Olympics in Sapporo in 1972 and Nagano in 1998.