Mikako Kotani named Tokyo Olympics sports director

FILE PHOTO: The giant Olympic rings, which are being temporarily removed for maintenance, are seen behind Japan's national flag, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

(Reuters) - Mikako Kotani, who won two bronze medals for Japan in the 1988 Olympics, has been named the sports director of the 2020 Tokyo Games and will take over from Oct. 1, the organising committee said on Wednesday.

Kotani, 54, succeeds Koji Murofushi, who was named the commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency this month.

Kotani, who is also an executive board member on the Japanese Olympic Committee, was part of the bidding team to host the 2020 Tokyo Games.

“As sports director, I am very honoured and humbled to be able to support the Olympic and Paralympic games from a sporting perspective and from the perspective of an Olympian,” Kotani said in a statement.

“We will work hard to overcome this unprecedented challenge the world is facing, and help athletes perform to their best in a new kind of games.”

The Games, originally scheduled to start this summer, were postponed for a year by the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese government due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Japan remains committed to hosting the Games next year, with organisers proposing cutting back the number of staff and shortening the opening period for training venues as part of a plan to hold a streamlined event.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman