Tokyo 2020 returns to 1964 equestrian park

An aerial view of Baji Koen, managed by the Japan Racing Authority, in 1989.
Aerial view of Baji Koen, owned by the Japan Racing Authority, in 1989.

tokyo2020The equestrian events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will return to the same venue as 1964, with Baji Koen hosting the horses sports.

The change was approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board at a meeting at the weekend in Rio, Brazil, and forms part of the Tokyo 2020 venue master plan following the FEI’s approval of the switch last month.

The main equestrian site will now be at Baji Koen, the Japan Racing Authority owned facility that hosted the Tokyo 1964 Olympic equestrian events. Baji Koen will host the Tokyo 2020 Olympic dressage and jumping disciplines, as well as the eventing dressage and jumping phases.

The eventing cross country phase remains at Sea Forest, also known as Umi no Mori, in Tokyo Bay. Olympic rowing, canoe sprint and mountain biking will also be staged at Sea Forest.

Under the Organising Committee’s original plans, the main equestrian venue was at Dream Island on Tokyo Bay. The switch to Baji Koen puts equestrian sport right back in the centre of the Olympic cluster and the use of an existing facility is also in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations on both costs and sustainability.

Eventing's cross-country phase will take place at Tokyo's Sea Forest venue.
Eventing’s cross-country phase will take place at Tokyo’s Sea Forest venue.

In Tokyo’s original bid, 33 per cent of the venues were using pre-existing facilities, but the changes announced at the weekend have increased that to 50 percent, less than three months after the Agenda 2020 recommendations were unanimously approved by the IOC in Monaco last December.

According to the IOC, the combined savings resulting from venue changes to equestrian, basketball and canoe slalom will slash $1US billion from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’s construction budget.

“The FEI has been working very closely with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, visiting all venues and carefully considering all options, and we are very impressed with both the Baji Koen and Sea Forest sites,” FEI Director Games & Championships Tim Hadaway said.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos said the FEI was more than happy to agree to a venue change that helps Tokyo stay in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, “especially as Baji Koen is a beautiful public park that will make a spectacular venue for the 2020 Olympic equestrian events and keeps our sport right at the heart of the Games”.

“We celebrated 100 years in the Olympic movement in London 2012 and with Tokyo 2020 in our sights, our focus is firmly on providing a strong legacy for equestrian sport in Japan. We are looking forward to putting the spotlight on our sport in Tokyo.”

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