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Olympic marathon champion Takahashi among 12 women added to Tokyo organisers' board

FILE PHOTO: The Olympic rings are illuminated in front of the National Stadium in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Sydney Olympics marathon gold medallist Naoko Takahashi and former Paralympic alpine skier Kuniko Obinata were among 12 women added to the Tokyo Olympics organising committee board on Wednesday, more than doubling the ratio of women on it to 42%.

The organising committee said on Tuesday it would increase female representation on its board after its former president, Yoshiro Mori, stepped down last month over sexist remarks he made.

Mori, a former Japanese prime minister, resigned as Tokyo Games president after sparking a furore when he said during a Japanese Olympic Committee meeting in February that women talk too much.

Among others joining the organising committee board were Japan Rugby Football Union executive board member Naoko Saiki, Chukyo University sports science professor Kyoko Raita and Tokyo Metropolitan Sports Association for the Disabled chair Yaeko Shiraishi.

The 12 new members bring the number of women on the 45-member board to 19.

"We selected people in order to get opinions from different angles through diversity, harmony and gender equality," Seiko Hashimoto, who replaced Mori, told reporters.

"What should we do to best tackle staging these Games amid the coronavirus concerns? I want to organise our response making use of the perspectives from various fields."

The Tokyo Games, originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held from July 23 to Aug. 8 and the Paralympics from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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