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Tokyo 2020 hoping to learn from Pyeongchang: spokesman

A volunteer stands at the base of the Olympic Cauldron for the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games at the Alpensia resort in Pyeongchang, South Korea, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PYEONGCHANG (Reuters) - Pyeongchang 2018 may not have started yet, but organizers of the next landmark Olympic Games are already learning the rigors of hosting a major sporting event.

Tokyo will host the next summer games in 2020 and the organizing committee has sent a large delegation to near-neighbours South Korea to learn lessons from the Winter Games, which start on Friday.

Speaking to Reuters in Pyeongchang, Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said his team was committed to learning what hosting a games is like on the ground.

“This is a very important learning occasion for Tokyo 2020 staff members,” said Takaya, adding that the Tokyo 2020 presence in Pyeongchang is over 100 strong.

“We have been making a great effort in terms of making the preparations already but this has been done on a ‘table basis’. Now we are able to know how the operation would go on the ground, which will be a great asset for the games in the future.”

Takaya added his team had been particularly impressed with the enthusiasm of the tens of thousands of volunteers helping guide athletes, media and fans around the Olympic clusters in the build-up to the games.

Takaya also acknowledged how important a strong Japanese performance in the events themselves at Pyeongchang would be for those watching back home.

Japan are confident of an impressive showing at these winter games, something Takaya hopes will build momentum for Tokyo 2020 among Japanese sports fans.

“Athlete’s performance here in Pyeongchang 2018 will bring another massive excitement to Tokyo 2020. This will be very important for momentum to get the Tokyo 2020 Games success,” said Takaya.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty