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Tokyo 2020 aims to make some noise, says Reiko

By Brian Oliver in Rio de Janeiro

A ‘brains trust’ of Olympic weightlifting competition managers met in Rio to talk about times past and future. There was Wang Yan from Beijing 2008, Matthew Curtain from London 2012, Pedro Meloni from Rio 2016 and the woman who will be in charge for Tokyo 2020, Reiko Chinen.

Reiko, a popular figure among the IWF technical officials, was hugely impressed by the atmosphere at the Riocentro arena and says it will be Tokyo’s aim to match it.

“The spectators in Rio have been great. They know when to make a noise and when to stay quiet. Their clapping and cheering created a very good atmosphere and we really need that in Tokyo.

“The Japanese people are a little bit shy and quiet compared to Brazilians, who can be very excited. We will have to do something for spectators to excite them, to make big noise for the athletes. Language and communication will be a big challenge for us.”

One big difference between Rio and Tokyo will be the site of the venue. The Tokyo International Forum, a multi-purpose exhibition and cultural center, is right in the heart of Tokyo.

“There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops right outside, and many subways and train stations nearby,” said Reiko.

Spectators will get extra value with their tickets, as they will be able to watch training. The venue has 11 floors, and one of them will be the training area. Spectators will be able to watch without disturbing the athletes, said Reiko.

Reiko has been involved in weightlifting since 1986, when she started as an athlete. She is a coach and a high-ranking technical official.

In 1993 Reiko gained her International Category 2 Technical Official licence, and five years later she was the first female TO to get a Category 1 in Japan.

In 2014 Reiko was technical director of the IWF World Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She is a member of the Asian Executive Board and chairs the Asian Technical Committee.

Japan has about 4,000 registered weightlifters and is implementing a programme for younger starters. “Most of them are students who start at 15, but we want more starting at nine or 10,” said Reiko. “The sport is growing, especially among the youth.”