Tokyo: The Ariake Arena, which will host the wheelchair basketball and volleyball events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic and Olympic Games, respectively, was inaugurated on Sunday (3 February) during a ceremony blending sports, culture and entertainment.
More than 3,000 spectators got a glimpse of what Tokyo 2020 will be like while the Japanese capital is ever more looking forward to hosting the world during the Games.
The Ariake Arena, that was constructed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and was completed in December 2019, has an iconic design, with a concave roof reducing the indoor space in order to minimise needs for air conditioning and lightning.
The last permanent venue under construction, the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, will be delivered this month.
The Ariake Arena will host Volleyball at the Olympic Games. Both men’s and women’s tournaments will see 12 teams competing. There will be 16 days of competitions – with the men’s final on Saturday 8 August and the women’s final on Sunday 9 August, the last day of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The venue is also set to host the Wheelchair Basketball tournaments during the Paralympic Games.
The Volleyball tournaments will have a nostalgic feeling for volleyball fans as the sport for both men and women appeared at the Olympic Games for the first time at the Tokyo 1964 Games. Japan’s men’s team took the bronze medal and the women’s team surprised the world by winning gold.
The Ariake Arena comprises a main arena and a sub arena and will have a seating capacity of 15,000 at Games-time. After the Games, it will become a new hub of entertainment, sports and culture for the city of Tokyo. It will reopen in August 2021 and will then be operated by the Tokyo Ariake Arena INC., a new special purpose company which has concluded Japan’s first ever concession agreement with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The inauguration was attended by Yuriko Koike - Tokyo Governor, Seiko Hashimoto - Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and Yasuhiro Yamashita - Japanese Olympic Committee President.