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Tokyo 2020 unveils Aquatics Centre and Ariake Arena

A general view during the press preview of Ariake Arena, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games venue on November 21, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled two major venues to the media yesterday, with both nearing completion eight months ahead of the Games.

The ¥56.7bn ($523m) Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host swimming and diving events, is 90-per-cent complete, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and is on schedule to be finished at the end of February. It has 15,000 seats and will be one of the biggest swimming facilities in the world, and one of the biggest venues for the 2020 Games.

Tomofumi Kasano, the senior director for venues told local media: “The Tokyo Aquatics Centre will become a world-class facility for swimming and diving events. Even after the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we hope to maintain that reputation.”

Tokyo is targeting one million users annually for the venue after the Games, across competitive and public use.

Daishu Tone, venue director for the Aquatics Centre, said: “We are aiming to construct a swimming venue to the world’s highest standards, equipped with the latest facilities.

“What is left to be done is to finish some of the interior and exterior roof, as well as some office equipment for inside the building. Everything will be completed by February next year.”

A swimming test event will take place at the Aquatics Centre on April 14 to 15.

Ariake Arena, the venue for volleyball and wheelchair basketball costing ¥37bn ($340.7m), is also close to completion with only painting of the interior floor left to be done.

Once finished, the five-story building will also have a capacity of about 15,000. More than 800 cubic metres of cedar wood from 14 prefectures across Japan were used to build the arena.

After the Games, organisers are targeting 1.4m visitors annually, by hosting 10 competitions every year as well as concerts and musical performances.

All the venues to be built or refurbished for the Games are on schedule, including the centrepiece National Stadium, where construction work finished last week.

Four out of six new, permanent venues for the Games have been completed. Alongside the National Stadium, the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, Sea Forest Waterway and Oi Hockey Stadium were completed earlier this year. The canoe slalom course next to Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa Ward, the Ariake Tennis Park, and the athletes village are all also nearing completion.

The National Stadium will be unveiled in a gala opening on December 21, with retired sprinter Usain Bolt featuring in an exhibition rally as part of the event. The Emperor’s Cup football final will be the first sporting event to be held at the stadium, on New Year’s Day 2020.