Skip to main content

Yuko Arimori, Dai Tamesue and Other Athletes Speak Out in Opposition to New $2 Billion Olympic Stadium Plans

http://www.nikkan-gendai.com/articles/view/sports/161704

translated by Brett Larner



One after another, Japan's athletes have raised their voices in opposition to the current $2 billion+ USD plans for the New National Stadium.  Writing on his website, two-time World Championships 400 m hurdles medalist Dai Tamesue, 37, brought up what he called "three points of opposition to the current plans" for the stadium.  Tamesue cited the lack of a subtrack, the massive economic burden the stadium plans will create, and the resulting feeling this burden will create among the general population that sports are something they have been saddled with.

Two-time Olympic marathon medalist Yuko Arimori, 48, a spokesperson and public figurehead for the Olympic bid, also spoke out passionately against the plans at a public symposium, crying openly as she said, "Speaking as just a single athlete, I would never want to see the Olympics turned into something that would make people view them negatively.  If our Olympians can come together in mutual support maybe something can still be done."

Former rugby national team member Tsuyoshi Hirao, 40, lashed out angrily on his Twitter feed, writing, "There's something funny going on here!  Of course.  Come on, sports people, why don't you speak out?  This insanity is totally unforgivable."

Some experts estimate that from the demolition of the old National Stadium to the completion of the New National Stadium, total costs for the project will be more than $8 billion USD.  Polls show an overwhelming majority of the public believes a stop must be put to these plans as quickly as possible, with numbers of those opposed ranging from 71% in an Asahi Newspapers poll to 95% in a Yomiuri Newspapers survey.

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawabata Over Kawauchi at Takashimadaira 20 km

Like a distant echo of the thunder of yesterday's Yosenkai 20 km reverberating across the city, Tokyo's other major 20 km road race took place this morning in the northwestern suburb of Takashimadaira. Narrowly surviving the loss of its main sponsor last year, the Takashimadaira Road Race offers a unique 5 km loop course that delivers fast times. Now in its 42nd year, Takashimadaira is a favorite for upper-tier universities that don't have to run the Yosenkai to requalify for the Hakone Ekiden, for other schools' second-stringers, and for top-level independents and amateurs.

This year's race was fronted by a group of runners from Izumo Ekiden winner Tokai University who didn't make Tokai's final Izumo roster, by London World Championships marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and others from yesterday's Yosenkai winner Teikyo University and the Hakone-qualified Juntendo University and Komazawa University. In the same cool and lightly rainy…

Kawauchi and Kanematsu Win Rainy Shimantogawa 100 km

The 23rd edition of the Shimantogawa Ultramarathon took place Oct. 15 in Shimanto, Kochi. 1822 runners started the 100 km division, where Yoshiki Kawauchi (26, Saitama T&F Assoc.) and Aiko Kanematsu (37, Team RxL) took the men's and women's titles for the first time.

The 100 km division started under a heavy downpour at 5:30 a.m. in front of Warabioka J.H.S. The 576 participants in the 60 km division got off 4 1/2 hours later from Koinobori Park, with both races finishing at Nakamura H.S.

Kawauchi, the younger brother of "civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi, ran Shimantogawa for the second time, improving dramatically on last year's run to win in 6:42:06. "Last time I was 21st, a total disaster," Kawauchi said afterward. "My brother told me, 'Don't overdo it on the uphills,' and his advie helped me get through it. The scenery around Iwama Chinkabashi was really beautiful."

Kanematsu began running with her husband around age 30…

Osaka Marathon Elite Field

One of the world's ten biggest marathons, in its six runnings to date the Osaka Marathon has continued to avoid the addition of a world-class elite field of the same caliber as at equivalently-sized races like Tokyo, Berlin and Boston. In place of doling out cash to pros, Osaka's women's field has developed into a sort of national championship race for amateur women.

In the field this year are six, probably all six, of the amateur Japan women to have broken 2:40 in the last three years. Last year's top three, Yoshiko Sakamoto (F.O.R.), Yumiko Kinoshita (SWAC) and Hisae Yoshimatsu (Shunan City Hall) lead the way at the 2:36 +/- level, with a second trio of Marie Imada (Iwatani Sangyo), Mitsuko Ino (R2 Nishin Nihon) and Chika Tawara (RxL) all around the 2:39 level.

Last year's winner Sakamoto and 3rd placer Yoshimatsu squared off in September at Germany's Volksbank Muenster Marathon, Yoshimatsu tying Sakamoto's Osaka winning time of 2:36:02 to take 3rd over …