The newly built Tokyo Aquatics Centre was unveiled during an event on Saturday morning, marking the completion of all venues built for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Construction on the ¥56.7 billion venue was completed in February.
The state-of-the-art arena, located in Tatsumi Seaside Park in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, will host swimming, artistic swimming and diving during next summer’s Tokyo Games.
Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike was present for the opening and said the venue would host world-class competitions. She added that she is certain Tokyo’s amateur swimmers will find it satisfactory.
“This building will be used as a venue to host international tournaments even after the games and will contribute to the development of our athletes,” Koike said. “It will also be used by a wide range of people from children to the elderly.”
Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, Japan Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japan Paralympic Committee Chairman Junichi Kawai were among others who attended the ceremony.
Star swimmer Rikako Ikee, who has publicly battled leukemia and is currently making a return to competition, was part of a swimming demonstration held during the ceremony. Ikee teamed with butterfly swimmer Aito Yamaguchi and a pair of para swimmers and swam the anchor leg of a mixed 200-meter relay.
Diver Ken Terauchi, a four-time Olympian, and artistic swimming duo Yukiko Inui and Megumu Yoshida performed demonstrations of their disciplines as well.
“I’m extremely pleased that we were able to celebrate the opening of the Tokyo Aquatics Centre alongside those associated with the project,” Koike said. “We were shown great performances today by those who we can expect to deliver positive results at the games.”
Koike was happy to see Ikee in high spirits.
“Ikee appeared to be fine and swam gracefully,” Koike said. “Just to see her swimming gave us some energy.”
Organizers touted the venue as one of the world’s most cutting-edge arenas.
The walls and floors of the pools are movable, allowing the 50-meter main pool to be divided into two 25-meter spaces.
There is a foam pit and other equipment backstage near the diving pool, which will give athletes a place to work on their technique without getting wet.
The venue will hold 15,000 spectators during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and drop to a capacity of 5,000 following the games.
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