The main stadium that has been built for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was handed over to the Japan Sport Council on Saturday, marking the official completion of development work at the site.

Construction work was actually wrapped up in November, but Saturday represented the official hand-over date for the 60,000-capacity venue.

The stadium was originally earmarked as a host venue during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but delays in the project, including a relaunch of the design competition after the original plan was deemed to be too expensive, forced back the opening date.

Building work finally began some 14 months later than planned, in December 2016.

The first sporting event to take place at Tokyo’s National Stadium will be the final of the Emperor’s Cup football competition on New Year’s Day, with an official ceremony to mark the opening of the $1.25bn venue scheduled for December 21.

“We are very pleased that construction of the stadium – a key symbol of the Tokyo 2020 Games – has now been completed; it makes us realise just how close we are getting to the start of the Games,” Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto said.

“We are so looking forward to seeing athletes from all over the world marching into the new stadium at the Opening Ceremony… when the eyes of the world will be on this iconic symbol of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”

The stadium, which will host the athletics and football competitions during Tokyo 2020, will undergo a number of renovations after the Games through to late 2022, before becoming a destination for sports and entertainment events.

Image: Tokyo 2020