Olympic Hockey: Harmanpreet Singh ready to help India onto Olympic Podium

The world number five team is in fine form as the Olympic 2020 in Tokyo Olympic draw near, just like their impeccable skipper. Defender Harmanpreet Singh is one of the key assets of the India national hockey squad as they begin the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics.

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In both the first and second matches that served as qualifiers for Olympic 2020, Harmanpreet made critical contributions to help India punch their tickets for the Games. But just how did Harmanpreet get hooked on the sport?

Farming traction

Born on January 6, 1996, on the outskirts of Amritsar, Punjab, farmer’s son Harmanpreet was enamored by the big wheels of the farm tractor. Seeing his enthusiasm, his father permitted him to drive the vehicle.

It was this endeavor, where Harmanpreet would frequently beat up his shoulders and arms wrestling with the tractor’s unwieldy stick shift, that the stalwart hockey player credits as having imbued in him the ability to carry out his potent drag-flicks.

Steered by the hands of fate

An interest in hockey that he cultivated since childhood led Harmanpreet to join the Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar at the age of 15 with the hopes of becoming a forward.

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However, during his debut at the 2014 Sultan Johor Cup in Malaysia, his skill as a defender shone brighter instead. The then 18-year-old Harmanpreet sent in an incredible nine goals during the match and all of them from penalty corners. He would change the path of his low and powerful shots at the last second to keep the goalkeeper flummoxed.

Harmanpreet enjoyed further success in Malaysia the following year, clinching the gold medal at the 2015 Men’s Hockey Junior Asia Cup by being the top scorer of the competition with 14 goals.

Olympic foray and a bunch of other firsts

2016 was a year that saw Harmanpreet begin a streak that has, to date, seen him score 56 goals in 101 appearances, and consequently, win plenty across the board. First, there was a bronze medal at the 2016 Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy in London, where he was also named the Young Player of the Tournament.

After that, it was on to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics, where Harmanpreet became one of the youngest hockey players to represent India, before capping off the year with a gold medal in the 2016 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup held in Lucknow and bronze in the 2016–17 Men’s FIH Hockey World League season.

2017 saw Harmanpreet maintain his sharp form, emerging as the top scorer, with seven goals, in the tenth edition of the Men’s Hockey Asia Cup after India defeated Malaysia 2-1 in the final to win their third title.

In 2018, at the final running of the Men’s Hockey Champions Trophy, before it got replaced by the Hockey Pro League the following year, Harmanpreet Singh and the India team had to settle for silver after they narrowly lost out to Australia on penalties.

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Tokyo Olympic preparations

Heading into the Tokyo Olympic, the 23-year-old is shaping up well for the challenge that lies ahead of him in the New Year. While the year has gone by saw the ace drag-flicker take his game a notch higher and test the best in the business, he will know that the road ahead is set to be more daunting if he has to fulfill the dream to handing India another Olympic medal in a discipline that they once dominated.

The Indian team will be next seen in action on January 18-19, when India take on the Netherlands in their opening FIH Pro League tie in Bhubaneshwar.

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Olympic Equestrian: Austria and France have a last-minute chance of a team Olympic 2020 start

France and Austria had not secured any of the team starting places at the Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo Olympic in the qualifying tournaments. But shortly before the end of 2019, the FEI received the good news: Both countries are now with a team at the sporting high point of Olympic 2020 in Japan.

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For about dressage riders in Austria and France, the New Year’s Eve festivity turned out to be rather more substantial and cheerful this year than initially prearranged. The bulletin for France and Austria came unpredictably shortly before the end of the year that aside from these two countries would get an initial place at the Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo Olympic in the Summer Games. 

Two out of three riders had before met these supplies. But it stayed that way that means: neither South Africa nor Brazil will provide a team for the Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo Olympic. Qualifications for the Olympic 2020 Games are a complex system. The team’s performance is crucial for this. 

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It does not matter which tab they are. The riders do not have to be part of the team that has achieved the start authorization for the team with their enactment. But there must be three riders because an Olympic 2020 team in dressage consists of three riders.

The countries of South Africa and Brazil already had their squad start permits in the dressage discipline in their pouches. Nonetheless only two out of three qualifications achieved to encounter the obligatory obligation on time by December 31, 2019. For that, a rider has to finish at tiniest two international Grand Prix de Dressage with a result of over 66 percent.

 The precondition for this is that at least one five-star judge of another nationality must rate the rider with more than 66 percent. The last gamble for the third rider from South Africa and Brazil was owing to the deadline for the Grand Prix in Mechelen.

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South African rider Laurienne Dittmann stayed at the Grand Prix in Mechelen with 62.826 percent below the required 66 percent. There was no rider for Brazil in this test. So, it smears to both countries that the squad starting position is allocated contrarily. 

There is also a complicated system for this award, but this will not be explained in additional here. One thing is certain: France and Austria advantage from the bad luck that South Africa and Brazil had. The two European nations can start with a team at the Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo Olympic in the Summer Games.

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Olympic athletics: Belarus Olympians and families look ahead to Tokyo Olympic at Olympic Christmas Tree festival

Leading Belarus athletes, including London 2012 rhythmic gymnastics all-around bronze medalist Liubov Charkashyna, gathered with their families for the traditional New Year “Olympic Christmas Tree” festival in Minsk and looked ahead to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

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Viktor Lukashenko, first vice-president of the National Olympic Committee of the Republic of Belarus (NOC RB), welcomed the participants and wished everyone well ahead of the New Year holiday.

“Lease this bright holiday stimulate our athletes to new conquests, that we trust from them at the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.”

The NOC RB annually participates in the charity event called “Our Children” and they also invited to the festivities pupils from the Rudensky auxiliary residential school and the Radoshkovichi boarding school for children and children left without parental care. Charkashyna, who now coaches the Belarus national rhythmic gymnastics team, attended with her daughter Vera and husband Viktor Molashko, a former Belarusian footballer.

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“I continuously like to start joy the method of the New Year together with the NOC, at our Olympic Christmas tree,” she supposed.

Andrei Aramnau, the 2007 world champion and 2008 Olympic champion bodybuilder in the under-105 kilograms’ class, who won silver in the under-109 groups at this year’s world and European Championships, said he welcomed the chance the event brought him to catch up with old colleagues and their families.

“We do not realize each other so often, nevertheless at the Christmas tree you can talk views on how the outbound year has industrialized, the children get to know each other, and connect so much,” he supposed. 

“Twenty-nineteen was one of the most successful for me: I successfully performed at the European and World Championships, set many records, and most importantly, I had a son!

I hope that next year, the Olympic year, will be no less intense, and athletes will be able to please everyone with high results. In front of the New Year tree, the children were entertained by mascots from a range of Belarusian sports clubs. The children and their parents also took part in an interactive programmed game, quests and dances.

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“Each year the NOC of Belarus, as the boss of the Christmas Tree anniversary, tries to come up with rather new and make the holiday even gladder and more amazing,” Dzmitry Dauhalionak, vice-president of the NOC RB, further.

“I confidence that the mood of the “Olympic Christmas tree” will help our athletes to fulfill their thoughts at the main competition of next year – the Olympic 2020 in Tokyo Olympic,”

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Olympic Hockey: Alex Danson to return to training as she aims for Tokyo Olympic squad

Gold medalist Alex Danson has definite she will make a strange return to training with the Great Britain hockey side on Monday after her career was disrupted by a freak concussion. Danson has not been part of the set up since hitting her head on a wall while smiling on holiday in September 2018. 

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“I’m not who I was, I have a richness of experience that only these last long months could have given me,” she wrote.

In an interview in August she detailed how she could not jog for 10 months after the chance and has since hurt severe and tenacious headaches, but as she pushes to make the group for Tokyo Olympic, Danson, 34, is set to return to the team’s Bisham Abbey HQ next week.

She supposed on Friday: “It’s been a long 18 months since I last played international hockey. I realized over this New Year that 2019 was the first time in 17 years that I hadn’t played an international game.”

She was part of the Great Britain team which won Olympic gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016 but has not played since captaining England in their World Cup quarter-final loss to the Netherlands in August 2018.

She also said “I am delighted that I am able to return to our centralized program. On the way to the place I’ have spent more time in my life than I have at home.” 

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Danson, whose sister, Claire, an international triathlete who was paralyzed in August after a bike accident, added: ‘The last 18 months have established me to perhaps my limits, with my health, separation, and incapability to do the things I used to do with such ease. 

‘I’m still not 100 percent but with time running out before the Tokyo Olympic now it my last chance to see what I can do.

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Olympic Hockey: Japan and Australia to open Tokyo Olympic hockey tournament

Japan’s men will face world number one-ranked Australia in the opening match of the Olympic hockey tournament at next year’s Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo. The International Hockey Federation and Tokyo Olympic officials, including sports director Koji Murofushi, revealed the match schedule for the men’s and women’s competitions at a ceremony in the Japanese capital.

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The men’s gold-medal match will be held on August 6, with the women’s showpiece taking place the following day. Organizers have scheduled games for the morning and evening in an effort to avoid the high temperatures expected during Games-time.

On the occasion of a press briefing in Tokyo involving Tayyab Ikram, FIH Executive Board Member and IOC Olympic Solidarity Commission Member, Koji Murofushi, Tokyo Olympic Sports Director, Shihori Oikawa, Japan Women’s hockey national team player and Seren Tanaka, Japan Men’s hockey national team player, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today revealed the match schedule of the Tokyo Olympic hockey tournaments.

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The opening match will involve the Men’s national squads of Japan, the hosts, and the current number one team in the FIH World Rankings, Australia, on 25 July. The first match of the Women’s tournament will be played on the same day and sees the Netherlands who are topping the FIH World Rankings

All 12 teams in the men’s event will be in action on the first day of the Tokyo Olympic hockey tournament on July 25. New Zealand plays India and Spain take on Argentina in the other Pool A matches.

In Pool B, the Netherlands faces Belgium in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final, while Canada entertains Germany and Britain square off against South Africa. The Netherlands, who lost the Olympic final to Britain in Rio 2016, will take on India in the first women’s game of the competition in Pool A.

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Ireland’s clash with South Africa in the same group is the only other women’s game scheduled for the opening day. The remaining eight women’s squads will make their entrance into the Olympic tournament on July 26.

In Pool A, Britain goes up against Germany, while Japan plays China, Australia takes on Spain and New Zealand face Argentina in Pool B. Oi Hockey Stadium will stage the hockey rivalries at the Sports.

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What to expect with Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality?

The Olympic 2020 Games is one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and Tokyo Olympic is set to be one of the most innovative Games yet, hosted in Japan for the first time in nearly 60 years. Tokyo Olympic will be a truly once-in-a-lifetime occasion and a Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality Package will provide you and your guests with an experience like no other.

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Above and beyond

Much like the Olympic athletes who dedicate their lives to be the best in their sport, the Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality programmed will go above and beyond to ensure your hospitality experience is truly unforgettable. With our top international chefs creating memorable cuisine, world-class entertainment within the hospitality venue and watching the very best athletes in their field competing from your top category seat we guarantee you the best possible Olympic 2020 Games experience.

Unrivaled views

Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality combines fine dining, entertainment, and the very best seats. There is nothing quite like being at the heart of the action, fully immersed in every moment of the sport.

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Your hospitality experience is tailored to your needs, with a variety of Olympic packages available that suit everyone. Whether you prefer a sit down three-course meal or a more informal style buffet experience, we have the perfect option for you.

Moments of a lifetime

Watch athletes make history in Tokyo with the most exclusive experience at the Olympic 2020 Games, and hear from guest speakers about their own Olympic journey whilst enjoying complimentary food and drink. Our dedicated staff will be on hand to deliver an exceptional experience for you and your guests.

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The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of sporting endeavor, and for many athletes, this is their one opportunity at achieving a medal for their country. To be part of an Olympic 2020 Games and witness history being made in front of you is a moment of a lifetime. To do this in the comfort and luxury of Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality takes the unforgettable to a whole new level.

Tokyo Olympic Official Olympic Hospitality will be hosted at a range of events from the exhilarating athletics to the more relaxed all-day golf sessions.

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Olympic Fencing: Chinese fencing team aims for two golds at the Tokyo Olympics

Though the Chinese national fencing side has skilled setbacks in current years, Zhong Man, former Olympic champion and coach of the Chinese saber side, says he has high prospects for the future Tokyo Olympic Games.

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“Chinese fencing struggled after 2016, but now we are making steady improvements,” Zhong told media at the 2019 Sports Star Award ceremony in Beijing.

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Afterward its top in the London Olympics with two gold and one bronze medals, China skilled a downfall after Rio 2016 as many good fencers superannuated, including Zhong, the 2008 Olympic men’s saber champion.

In the following years, the team struggled to bring itself back to its former level. On the 2018 World Championships, China only won one figurine medal in women’s side epee, and the best record for separate fencers was the seventh place. But Zhong is hopeful about the future of this team and its chances in the Tokyo Olympic.

“The Chinese Fencing Association experienced a detailed reform under a new leader. We are coming back at an amazing rate. For instance, at this year’s World Championships, we won gold in women’s side epee, and a silver in the separate event. We hope to carry the impetus to Tokyo Olympic,” the 36-year-old supposed.

“By way of for the women’s saber side, there’s not a world champion, however, nonetheless we’ve got some talents that have recurrent podium surfaces in international tournaments and we are progressively refining. As the coach, I know there’s possible to tap into earlier Tokyo Olympic,” Zhong continued.

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“Of course, the Olympic 2020 Games are full of doubt. You won’t be able to know who wins until the last second. Sometimes it only takes one or two points to decide the winner. For the upcoming Olympic 2020, I hope the Chinese fencing team can win one or two gold medals.”

Zhong developed the first Chinese male fencer to win Olympic gold at Beijing 2008. Afterward a productive 10-year expert career, he retired in 2017 and developed the coach of the Chinese saber side.

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Olympic Hospitality: Genetic drug-testing could be introduced for the Tokyo Olympic

The technology, which it is hoped will help in the fight against blood doping, still requires approval from the World Anti-Doping Agency. Genetic drug-testing might be in place for the Tokyo Olympics, according to the head of the International Olympic Committee.

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The technology, which it is hoped will help in the fight against blood doping, still requires approval from the World Anti-Doping Agency before it can be introduced but IOC chief Thomas Bach is confident it will prove a deterrent to anyone thinking of cheating, even if the testing is not done until after the Games.

“Through research on genetic sequencing progressing well, this new method could be a ground-breaking method to sense blood doping, weeks or even months afterward it took place,” Bach supposed at the World Conference on Doping in Sport in the Polish city of Katowice.

If approved by WADA, such new gene testing could be used already at the Olympic 2020 Games in Tokyo Olympic. These new methods will again strengthen deterrence. We need the sharks to never feel safe, anytime or everyplace.

The genetic testing works by spotting which genes are expressed when blood has been manipulated either via a transfusion or a product that boosts the production of red blood cells. If the testing regime is not ready for Tokyo, all samples will be available to test post-Games for up to 10 years.

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Bach supposed: “In the latter case, the IOC would analyze these examples after the full authentication of this new challenging method.

This will add to the fact that the pre-Games testing programmed for the Olympic 2020 Games Tokyo Olympic will be the most extensive programmed ever, aimed to maximize both detection and deterrence.

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Olympic Hospitality: Olympic 2020 real estate boom engulfing Tokyo unlikely in Beijing

Tokyo’s property market has been thriving in current years previous to the 2020 Summer Olympic 2020, but Beijing, which will host the 2022 Winter Games, may go the conflicting path.

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While Japan has long-drawn-out fiscal outlay and approved out violent financial facilitation in an attempt to refresh flagging national request, the Chinese government has propelled a series of events to avoid the full of real estate bubbles at home.

As a prolonged trade dispute with the United States and persistent political unrest in Hong Kong have been distorting the outlook for the world’s second-top economy, overseas investors might too cut their holdings of Chinese properties.

In Tokyo, land prices had fallen since 2009, when the world economy, including Japan, feel pain from the result of the global monetary crisis activated by the collapse of U.S. cares firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. the previous year.

After the Japanese capital was awarded the Olympics 2013, prices have augmented for the 7th conservative year, the version to the Tokyo metropolitan government.

In 2019, the average price for land in all categories commercial, residential and industrial grew 4.1% from a year prior as of 1 July, after gaining 3.7% in 2018, the local establishments said.

An authorized at Japan’s Terrestrial, Substructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said such a flow in property prices in Tokyo is not sparkle but a deal result in shiny real demand.

Analysts say real estate prices in Tokyo have scaled owing not just to a building rush earlier the quadrennial sports events but to ultra-low interest rates in Japan and building work in the capital in the wake of a surge in overseas visitors to the nation.

Hiroo Ichikawa, a professor emeritus of town planning at Meiji University in Tokyo, said in a report that land prices in the city would continue “on an upward trend” even after the end of the Olympics 2020.

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Olympic Hospitality: Tokyo’s rough road to Olympic 2020 Games

The Shinjuku neighborhood bustles at midday, its streets filled with tourists and shoppers and subway riders emerging from an underground station. Everyone goes about their business, paying no mind to the immense construction site in their midst.

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Not so long ago, the new Olympic Stadium a centerpiece for the upcoming Summer Games was a lightning rod for criticism in this city, with residents pushing back against its original, $2-billion versions.

The first design was scrapped and replaced by one about half the price. It was part of an overall effort to control rising costs that had organizers and the government combining to spend an estimated $30 billion.

“We have been able to cut the budget,” Masa Takaya, a spokesman, said during a meeting at organizing committee headquarters last week. “We can say that Tokyo has been doing its best to deliver the Games in a sustainable way.”

Now, with the opening ceremony scheduled for a year from Wednesday, Tokyo Olympic can point to good news as fans clamor for tickets and corporations pledge billions of dollars in sponsorships.

At the stadium site, the clanging of heavy machinery is merely an echo from somewhere inside. Workers have finished the exterior, installing wooden slats and greenery meant to evoke the serenity of a traditional Japanese temple. But some Olympic scholars continue to wonder about these Games.

“They have tried to scale back in a bunch of ways,” said Victor Matheson, a sports economist at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. “We’re still looking at unofficial costs which would make this the second-most-expensive Olympics in history.”

Timing is part of the issue. When the International Olympic Committee selected Tokyo in 2013, its members had a reputation for choosing cities that promised to spend the most. This tendency scared away some potential hosts. It didn’t help when Russia poured an estimated $51 billion into the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

As Matheson noted: “Fifty-one billion makes it hard for the IOC to sell the Olympics to anyone.”

Later that year, the IOC passed Agenda 2020, the first step in a campaign to make hosting more affordable, in part by encouraging the use of existing venues. Leaders referred to this as the “New Norm.”

Paris and Los Angeles reacted by submitting relatively economical bids that were chosen for the next two Summer Games, but the shift came a bit late for Tokyo, which was facing criticism back home. Agenda 2020 “certainly accelerated” a decision by organizers and the national government to review their master plan, Takaya said.

The national stadium drew most of the attention as officials dumped British architect Zaha Hadid’s lavish design some complained that it looked like a giant turtle — in favor of a more modest proposal from Japanese architect Kengo Kuma that was estimated to cost $1.2 billion. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described the change as a legacy that the next generation can be proud of.

Organizers cut costs in other ways, shifting events such as basketball and equestrian to existing venues, including some that dated back to the 1964 Summer Games. All of this moved Tokyo closer in line with new IOC policies; among the 43 venues required, eight would be new, 10 would be temporary and 25 would be existing.

Two expensive projects were preserved. In addition to the stadium, organizers continued to build a sprawling athletes village at the edge of Tokyo Bay, where crews now scramble around the skeletons of high-rise buildings in the stultifying heat.

At the nearby Tokyo Olympic headquarters, two life-sized plush figures official mascots Miraitowa and Some sit on chairs in the lobby. With reports estimating overall spending by organizers and various government entities at $25 billion or more, Takaya expresses satisfaction with what his committee has done for its portion.

“We feel that with Agenda Olympic 2020, our venue master plan has certainly become more refined,” he said. “It is able to meet the public needs, the needs of this generation.”

Paris has estimated it can stage the 2024 Summer Games for about $8 billion in private and public money, though that number is expected to rise. L.A. 2028’s latest budget projection is about $7 billion, with organizers predicting they can generate enough revenue to cover all costs. Given these numbers, Matheson isn’t overly enthusiastic about Tokyo.

“It’s hard for me to lavish much praise on $25 billion,” the economist said. “It’s like an arsonist who says, yes, I set fire to the house, but then I called the fire department and saved one bedroom.”

Back in 2013, during the bid phase, the Japanese forecast expenses at $7 billion. Since then, cost overruns have been accompanied by significant missteps. Around the time officials were switching stadium designs, they had to nix the official logo because it too closely resembled one used by a Belgian theater. Then the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, agreed to step down amid allegations that bribes were paid to secure the bid.

Even more troubling, a human rights organization reported that workers many of them foreigners brought into the country under a program that affords them less protection than it does Japanese citizens were being subjected to long hours and dangerous conditions at venue construction sites.

“The truth is, these are all ingrained Olympic problems,” said Jules Boykoff, a Pacific (Ore.) University political science professor who studied similar issues surrounding the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “We’re seeing them play out in Japan.”

Despite the high-profile controversies, Takaya says the Games remain on track. He also dismisses budget criticisms by invoking the curious math of the Olympic movement, which divides costs and shifts them around.

Organizing committees usually focus on the operating budget the price of running events day-to-day and wash their hands of the billions that governments spend on infrastructures such as stadiums, roadways, and hotels, which end up on a different ledger.

Tokyo Olympic takes responsibility for $5.6 billion in operational expenses, but not for the $20 billion or so that will be spent by the national and local governments. Officials also insist that Japan needed much of the infrastructure spurred by the Games.

The athlete’s village will be converted to apartments and condominiums in a city of 9.2 million. The stadium replaces an aging facility that had grown obsolete; for example, it no longer met the standards to host a track world championship. None of these arguments mollify critics, who note that no matter how the accounting plays out, taxpayers will foot much of the bill.

“I feel like I know the history of the Games too well,” Boykoff said. “We should always be highly skeptical.”

Cicadas sing from the trees surrounding Yumenoshima Park the site of Tokyo’s new archery venue — their thrum making a humid morning feel a little heavier. Half of the new Tokyo Olympic venues are complete, so organizers have begun to hold test events; an international field of archers competed here last week.

“This venue is incredible,” said Brady Ellison, a world champion from the U.S. “When we went out the other night in our team gear, walking through the train station, people were saying, ‘Go USA,’ and taking pictures with us.”

Budget issues notwithstanding, the buzz here is palpable. Tokyo Olympic new logo a blue, checkered circle is plastered across the city on taxi cabs and in storefront windows. Merchandise shops are reportedly doing good business and, even in a rural prefecture 180 miles north, colorful banners fly beside the highway.

“Whenever we see the Olympics, every two years, we always see big, big excitement from the general public,” Takaya said. “The TV audience rating is extremely high compared to other parts of the world.”

This passion has translated into more than $3 billion in domestic sponsorships, three times the previous record of $1.1 billion set by London for the 2012 Summer Games. IOC executive John Coates called it “an amazing amount of money.

When organizers held a lottery last month, 7.5 million people registered for the chance to buy 3.2 million tickets. With so many fans turned away, a second and perhaps third public sale is in the works. So it remains to be seen how these Olympic will be viewed, not just during next summer’s competition but in the long run, after the cheering has subsided and Japan is left holding the tab. Critics are dubious. Japanese officials are doggedly optimistic.

“People are absolutely passionate about having the Games next year,” Takaya said. “This is a very exciting time.”

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