Arenas of gold: Tokyo venues ready to forge Olympic dreams

A general view of the National Stadium during an athletics test event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on May 9, 2021. (AFP file)
A general view of the National Stadium during an athletics test event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on May 9, 2021. (AFP file)

Tokyo - Tokyo hopes to make the most of the facility after this summer, aiming to attract one million users a year



By AFP

Published: Tue 22 Jun 2021, 12:59 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Jun 2021, 1:14 PM

From a state-of-the-art aquatics centre to a historic martial arts arena whose roof resembles Mount Fuji, Tokyo's Olympic sites are ready for action after a year's virus delay.

The 43 venues are located in two main areas: the "Tokyo Bay Zone" in the capital's busy port district, and the more central "Heritage Zone" incorporating several sites from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Coronavirus rules announced on Monday mean a maximum of 10,000 spectators will be allowed at each venue, though sponsors and Olympic officials may slightly swell that figure.

With one month to go until the opening ceremony, AFP takes a tour of the key venues:

Used for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the athletics and some football matches, the 68,000-seater Olympic Stadium in central Tokyo has been built on the site of the 1964 stadium.

The 56.7 billion yen ($516 million) Aquatics Centre was completed in February 2020 but its grand opening was postponed by the virus.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was finally held in October 2020 at the 15,000-seat venue in the Bay Zone for swimming, diving and artistic swimming events.

The main pool features a movable wall allowing the 50m facility to be converted into two 25m pools, with the depth also adjustable.

Tokyo hopes to make the most of the facility after this summer, aiming to attract one million users a year, mostly through swimming competitions but also allowing casual punters to swim.

The brand-new Ariake Arena will host Olympic volleyball and Paralympic basketball, with seating for 15,000.

Solar panels on its curved roof were carefully aligned to avoid reflecting sunlight into nearby apartments.

The renowned martial arts arena was first built for judo in 1964 and boasts a curved roof to resemble Mount Fuji. It will also host karate this year.

It became a renowned concert venue after the 1964 Olympics and famously played host to the Beatles in 1966 when they made their first appearance in Japan.

The Olympic Village, which will house athletes and officials from over 200 countries, was built on reclaimed land on a huge rectangular site looking out over the water.

The 21 residential towers will have a total capacity of 18,000 beds during the Olympics and 8,000 for the Paralympics.

They have been empty for months, but after the Games will be converted into luxury apartments to buy or rent -- with around 900 units already sold before the postponement.

The first artificial canoe slalom course in Japan has vast concrete basins that slope at a two-degree gradient.

Four pumps will be installed and blocks placed on the course to create a raging current.

The site is intended for a wide range of watersports and leisure activities after the Games.

Japanese authorities have dubbed Tokyo 2020 the "Reconstruction Olympics" and they are determined to show that areas in eastern Fukushima have been revitalised since the crippling 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

The venue will be used for baseball, one of Japan's most popular sports, and softball.

The Barron's news department was not involved in the creation of the content above.


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