Sapporo given go-ahead to bid for 2030 Winter Olympics
The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) on Wednesday formally gave its blessing to Sapporo as a potential candidate city to host the 2030 Winter Games.
Sapporo, on Japan's snow-swept northern island of Hokkaido, staged the 1972 Games and was recently chosen as the venue for the marathon and race walk events at this year's Summer Olympics in Tokyo because of fears over the severe heat in the capital.
The JOC will notify the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its decision in the coming days after completing the formality of approving Sapporo's bid in the absence of any interest from a rival municipality, officials added.
IOC President Thomas Bach praised Sapporo as a potential candidate for 2030 earlier this month following a meeting with the city's mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto in Lausanne. Sapporo previously expressed an interest in hosting the 2026 Olympics, since awarded to Milan-Cortina, but city officials feel they are better placed for a successful run at 2030.
Salt Lake City and Barcelona also have their eye on entering the race to host 2030. The IOC angered Tokyo 2020 organisers last October by moving the marathon and race walks to cooler Sapporo, located more than 800 kilometres north of the capital, after fears the extreme summer heat could pose a health risk to athletes, officials and spectators.