Japan Olympic great’s Tokyo Unite initiative



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Tokyo sports alliance formed to promote clubs and venues Image: Olympics.com

Japan’s two-time double Olympic breaststroke champion – Kitajima Kosuke – steps up for his hometown with big ideas – a 14-team alliance of Tokyo-based sports teams – nearly one year on from the Games.

‘Olympics’ stated that one of Japan’s all-time Olympic greats is taking his part to keep the Tokyo 2020 fire going.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the XXXII Olympiad and also known as Tokyo 2020, was an international multisport event held from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan, with some preliminary events that began on July 21st.

Kitajima Kosuke, the double-double Olympic breaststroke champion in 2004 and 2008, helped launch an audacious project involving 14 Tokyo-based teams across seven sports on July 7th – an alliance called ‘Tokyo Unite’.

Ahead of the one year anniversary of last Summer’s Games on July 23rd, the partnership brings together Tokyo’s professional bodies on an unprecedented scale, including the country’s most popular sports team the Yomiuri Giants (professional baseball team), the J. League’s FC Tokyo – and even the Japan Sumo Association, to name a few.

The complete list of participating teams can be found here.

‘Olympics’ further stated that the Tokyo Unite will have full backing of the national and Metropolitan Governments.

Some of its fundamental goals are to make Tokyo an even more attractive year-around hub for domestic and global sports, by tearing down the wall between sports through cross-promotion and engagement.

Tokyo Unite will aim to follow up and build on the core values of Tokyo 2020 such as diversity/inclusion and sustainability, to carry out and help realize the legacy of the Games.

Kitajima – whose Tokyo Frog Kings of the International Swimming League is part of the coalition – has huge ambitions, just as fearless as he was in the pool.

Stated Kitajima during a presser, “Every team here thinks Tokyo is capable of doing bigger and better things, can start a movement. Everyone here agrees that by joining forces, we can reach a whole new level. Tokyo Unite has large possibilities and I myself am looking forward to seeing how this grows. Hopefully, Tokyo Unite can be a model for other regions nationwide – and even the world, maybe.”

The Tokyo Governor, Koike Yuriko, is also pinning high hopes on Tokyo Unite, which she believes is the perfect vehicle to see out the legacy of the Games – “It has been almost a year since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were held. As the Metropolitan Government, we want to make sure to carry on the various legacies of the Games for our future. Today we have here, 14 teams from seven sports taking part which is certain to make Tokyo a City of greater allure.”

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