Interview: FINA official hails "outstanding" Tokyo Games, organizers' efforts "phenomenal"

2021-08-01 09:05:38 GMT2021-08-01 17:05:38(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Sportswriters Zhou Xin, Wu Shuguang, Xia Liang

TOKYO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- A senior official with FINA, the world swimming governing body, hailed the Tokyo 2020 "an outstanding Olympic Games," as the nine-day swimming competition curtained down here Sunday, bidding farewell with six world records and 20 game marks.

"I think there's been an outstanding Olympic Games though we have more competitions to go," FINA Treasurer Dale Neuberger told Xinhua in an exclusive interview here on Sunday.

"We are looking forward to a great 17 days of competition as we began on the first day in swimming, then water polo, diving, artistic swimming, and we end on the last day with water polo. We are very proud of that we have 49-medal events throughout the whole Games," he said.

According to IOC's research, aquatic sports under FINA's ruling, are the most-watched sports at the Olympics since 2008, 2012 and 2016. "I hope it's the same this year," Neuberger said.

Neuberger also gave thumbs up for the growth and development of the sport worldwide despite the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Games caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think our sport has progressed on an annual basis at a tremendous rate and our sport will continue to do so. The athletes have set high goals, coaches continue to make great progress on the technical skills that they bring to the sport," he said.

"We're going to have a very continued growth and development of the sport in terms of world records and also progress from developing countries around the world."

Neuberger noted that FINA has always appreciated the Japanese government, the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create a sound competition environment for athletes.

"The efforts of the Japanese government, the Japanese Olympic Committee, the Organizing Committee and IOC to create this environment have been phenomenal," he said.

"We appreciate everything that has been done to enable the athletes to have this incredible opportunity. It's not been easy. It has taken great efforts and great dedication from the Japanese authorities, and we are incredibly appreciative of that."

FINA's official website has uploaded short videos of athletes doing dry-land training at home during the COVID-19, in which they are seen to use bathtub, sofa, backyard, trampoline, and even kitchen stage as training areas.

"FINA has shown attitude to encourage athletes to keep training even in hard times. We know it has been very difficult in many parts of the world for training, but we also know that athletes and coaches persevere. They can find a way to be successful as we have seen here in Tokyo," Neuberger said.

Besides, FINA created an active learning platform on its website. "We have launched virtual sessions to help coaches in each of the six aquatic disciplines to impart knowledge, and for coaches and others around the world to become acquainted with the newest methods and new techniques to advance our sport," he said. Enditem