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Tokyo lands 2025 World Athletics Championships

Tokyo has seen off competition from three rival bidders to secure hosting rights to the 2025 World Athletics Championships.

The World Athletics Council, meeting on the eve of the 2022 Championships in Oregon, United States, selected the Japanese capital ahead of Nairobi (Kenya), Silesia (Poland) and Singapore.

World Athletics deemed all four candidates strong enough and experienced enough to host its showpiece event. Tokyo scored the highest of the four candidates in the bid evaluation across the four focused areas: the potential for a powerful narrative; revenue generating opportunities for World Athletics; a destination that will enhance the international profile of the sport; and appropriate climate.

The 2025 World Athletics Championships will see the sport’s biggest stars return to Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, otherwise known as the National Stadium and venue for last year’s postponed Olympic and Paralympic Games, in the year that the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) celebrates its centenary year.

In 2025, World Athletics said Tokyo will have the opportunity to fill its stadium with athletics fans who were denied the opportunity to attend the Olympic Games due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In October, it was reported that the Japanese Government had decided to backtrack on a decision to remove the athletics track from the National Stadium as Tokyo sought to land the 2025 World Athletics Championships.

The reversal was said to have been decided upon due to concerns over further redevelopment costs for the venue, plus worries over its future viability as an events host without an athletics track in place.

Tokyo’s new National Stadium officially opened on December 15, 2019 following a near three-year construction project, as former Japanese Prime Minister, the late Shinzo Abe, attended a completion ceremony for the venue that served as the centrepiece for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2017, the Government had initially decided to turn the National Stadium into a dedicated football and rugby union venue after Tokyo 2020. The 2025 World Championships will mark the event’s third edition in Japan following Tokyo in 1991 and Osaka in 2007.

“Within an extremely strong field of candidates to host the World Athletics Championships 2025, Tokyo offered a compelling bid,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe. “I hope this will be a shining light for Japan as they celebrate 100 years of the Japanese Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) in 2025, by bringing world-class athletics back to the people in Tokyo.”

JAAF president, Mitsugi Ogata, added: “Together with World Athletics as one team, we will capitalise on this opportunity to showcase the best possible global event for growing our sport to a higher level.

“History has shown that we have the ability and energy to host the world’s top athletes and to inspire international audiences. We promise that the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo will be full of fans to become an unforgettable experience for the athletes and everyone involved.”

The 18th edition of the World Athletics Championships begins today (Friday) at a revamped Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon; while Budapest in Hungary will host the 2023 event having been awarded the hosting rights in December 2018.

Image: World Athletics/Dan Vernon