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Japan's Arakida makes her mark with Tokyo 2020 bid

06 Sep 2013
Buenos Aires, Argentina: The 2020 Olympic bids have offered lead roles for women who are at the forefront combining their diverse experiences to hype the strengths of their candidate cities - Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid.“I believe in Madrid, the capital of sport"... "The Istanbul Olympic dream gives us a great feeling"..."Tokyo offers the great inspiration to the Olympic world.”

These have been the mantra of Ana Botela of Madrid, Ne?e Gündo?an of Istanbul and Japan's Yuko Arakida as they pitch cases for their home cities across the globe.

Arakida, the experienced face of the Tokyo dream

She feels the dream and understands the bid on the most important aspect - the athletes and International Federations. She was involved in Tokyo’s failed bid for 2016 and was an automatic pick for the all-important Sports Director’s role from her previous stints with the Japanese national women’s volleyball team and various club teams in Europe.

She helped the Japanese volleyball team to the gold medal at the Montreal Games in 1976 and strongly senses she is within reach of more Olympic glory.

“I have followed this Olympic dream. The last bid I was part of the presentation team,” she recalled, after leading a rousing, athlete-driven press conference in the Argentine capital on Thursday.

“But this time our campaign is different. We have improved on our previous mistakes. This bid shares the global inspiration of many athletes, it is a spontaneous campaign,” the 59-year-old passionately articulated as she outlined the bid's aim to ensure an athlete-focused games. 

She is the Chair of the OCA's Athletes Committee, the Japanese Olympic Athletes and Tokyo Athletes commissions that surely explains her  absolute contribution in the Tokyo campaign.She played a key role in delivering the assertion of the Japanese athletes to inspire the next generation of sports stars.

“The power of sport and the Japanese people’s passion for sport keeps inspiring me to carry on and ensure the success of our bid," she said.

(By Evelyn Watta, AIPS Executive Committee Member)
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