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Volume 7 No. 149

Olympics

Sports that missed out on funding for the 2020 Olympics after being judged "unlikely medal winners" will now be able to "bid for money from a new fund" announced by the U.K. government, according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. In a "significant shift of funding policy," U.K. Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said that the £3M ($3.95M) Aspiration Fund will help "bridge the gap" between the "haves and have-nots" of elite funding for Olympic and Paralympic sports. The "no-compromise" approach used by UK Sport "targets money purely at strong medal prospects." The new fund "should help" sports such as basketball, wheelchair rugby and fencing, which were "cut off from elite funding when judged as unlikely medal prospects." The decision regarding basketball was "particularly controversial given the sport's popularity in urban areas and potential to inspire young people." Under the new funding scheme, team sports will be able to bid for grants of £500,000 ($657,700) and individual sports for up to £275,000 ($361,700), with the money to run through the Tokyo 2020 cycle (LONDON TIMES, 10/12). The BBC reported all unfunded Summer Olympic and Paralympic sports are "eligible to apply for the new fund." Skateboard England CEO James Hope-Gill said that the body is "very excited." Hope-Gill said, "If we are successful in our application, this means that we will be able to give an opportunity to GB skateboarders to enter Olympic qualification events around the world so that they can gain ranking points," adding that it was an "unexpected opportunity." British Surfing, which last month set up a crowdfunding page after also missing out on funding, believes the Aspiration Fund "could prove the difference." British Surfing Dir Nick Hounsfield: "This sort of funding, carefully managed, can absolutely give them the best preparation for Olympic qualification" (BBC, 10/12).

The Japanese government will introduce an electronic system for tourist visa applications in April '20, in time for the Tokyo Olympics, in an effort to help achieve its goal of 40 million inbound visitors by that year, government sources said Sunday. The online system reportedly will first be available to Chinese tourists for single-entry visa applications and then to travelers from other countries (KYODO, 10/14).

As Tokyo "ramps up preparations" to host the 2020 Olympics, a new multi-sport facility has opened in its downtown Shinagawa district, where kids and adults "can try their hand at various sports," from basketball to surfing on artificial waves. In addition to eight types of sports, the family-friendly Sporu Shinagawa Oimachi complex also houses several other attractions (KYODO, 10/12).

Seven senior Kenyan officials will be charged over alleged corruption surrounding the 2016 Olympic Games, the country's chief prosecutor said. Those accused include former Sports Minister Hassan Wario and former Olympic Committee Head Kipchogge Keino, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Chief Prosecutor Noordin Haji said that they "must turn themselves in" by Monday (BBC, 10/13).