Japan head to Asian Games with one eye on Olympics

15th August, 2018 10:08:17 printer

The Asian Games 2018 will be a chance for Japan’s athletes to test their preparations two years out from the Tokyo Olympics but also give officials the opportunity to gain some valuable insight into the organisation of the multi-sport event, reports Reuters.

The 2018 Asian Games, albeit on a smaller scale than an Olympics, have included sport climbing and karate on their programme and Tokyo 2020 organisers are keen to see how they function.

“We do think that the Asian Games will definitely be important in the run-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) said in a recent statement looking ahead to Jakarta.

“We also think that experiencing the atmosphere of the Asian Games will be a positive element for Tokyo 2020. We assume that most of the participating NOCs will send their best athletes.

“Especially for young athletes and athletes of the new additional sports for Tokyo 2020, it will be a good occasion to perform and to compete together as Team Japan.”

The JOC have targeted 30 gold medals at Tokyo 2020, almost twice as many as their record of 16 set when Japan last hosted the Olympics in 1964 and again at Athens 2004. Despite their desire to see how their athletes are placed two years out from their own Games, the strength of the team varies on a sport-by-sport basis.

Many of Japan’s top table tennis players, including 15-year-old Tomokazu Harimoto, who is ranked eighth in the world, and Olympic silver medallist Maharu Yoshimura will not be at the August 18-September 2 Asiad.