No better 2020 Olympic host than Tokyo

Tokyo will host the 2020 Olympics. The decision makes perfect sense. No one has a crystal ball that can see seven years into the future in these contentious times. There is, however, a fair guarantee that in 2020 Japan will still be one of the safest places in world torn asunder by the fissiparous tendencies of uncertain times.
A pacifist nation since the end of World War II, Japan also reconstructed its economy prodigiously since the war and is an economic powerhouse even if it did not quite fulfil the prophecies of the Japanese becoming the economic super race of the world, which was feared at a time in the 80s when they were buying up real estate in London and New York.
There are a number of compelling reasons why Tokyo will make a great venue. No country does logistics better. Years ago we were stunned when outside the Narita airport boards announced bus arrivals and they came so perfectly by the appointed minute that you could set your watch.
Five porters standing with keys in their hands opened the luggage racks as soon as our bus pulled up and neat rows of suitcases disappeared in less than a minute.
The driver’s head count — clicked on a hand held counter — takes a few seconds and off goes the inter-terminal bus to Haneda. There is no race with such a drive for efficiency and punctuality. In the worst day of their lives in 2011, people stood in queues miles long to get their food in the aftermath of nature’s worst double whammy of a monster 9.1 earthquake and a gigantic 15-metre tsunami.
The enormous patience and the obsession with order apart, the one great reason why Tokyo is the ideal host is the honour by which their athletes swear. Not a single Japanese athlete has been caught doping in history.
Such things are possible only if there is a very strong behavioural ethic in a whole people in this competitive world in which athletes are known to take recourse to any means to squeeze out an advantage.
This is not to take away anything from the attractions of Istanbul and Madrid, the first a marvellous cosmopolitan city and the second situated in a sport-obsessed nation. But, when it comes to making a seven- year prediction, it’s obvious that Istanbul lies in a troubled zone while there is no saying if Spain can get out of an economic mess in which over 25 per cent of its youth is unemployed.
The fears of the Fukushima fallout could have ruined the bid. Considering the ill-fated nuclear plant is only 150 miles from Tokyo, to assert that the radiation would not affect the city would have taken a lot of convincing. The Japanese capital’s bid had the support of the prime minister and the royal house too. It becomes possible to forecast that in the next seven years Japan would have done a thorough cleaning up job of the crippled plant.
Indians have a particular reason to rejoice over Tokyo getting the Games as it also came with a strongly stated support for the return of wrestling to the Olympics. The sport had spent only seven months outside the IOC ambit until a highly publicized vote saw it knock off softball/baseball and squash to make a triumphant return. The Japanese love their sumo wrestling so much that they threw their weight behind the once popular sport that may have somewhat lost its way in modern ways of presentation.
The federation, FILA, seems to have woken up and has promised to present the sport in a more modern way, with the numbers of bouts reduced to two of three minutes each and other refinements plus more women’s events to make it attractive to spectators of the modern era who may have grown up on fast food and faster sport.
Rio will be a big test for wrestling, the ancient sport that tries to go modern. So long as it doesn’t trend towards WWF, the sport should be fine. So too Tokyo - as the host for the second time of a modern Olympics.

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