The organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has hit another milestone after the Ariake Arena officially opened at the weekend.

An opening ceremony celebrating sports, Japanese culture and entertainment was held at the arena yesterday (Sunday) and attended by more than 3,000 spectators. The arena was built by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, with work having finished in December.

The venue, which will have a capacity of 15,000 during the event, is scheduled to host volleyball at the Olympics and wheelchair basketball during the Paralympics. Japan’s national volleyball team and wheelchair basketball team tested out the new court during the opening ceremony.

The Ariake Arena features a concave roof design to reduce the indoor space, ensuring minimal need for air conditioning and lighting. Solar panels and geothermal heat equipment will also seek to reduce the carbon footprint of the venue, which will feature a main arena and a “sub arena”.

The arena also includes universally-designed toilets and wheelchair-accessible seats. Post-Olympics, it is hoped the arena will serve as a sports and entertainment hub for Tokyo when it reopens in August 2021, from which point it will 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 delivery of the Ariake Arena comes after work was completed on the 12,000-seat Ariake Gymnastics Centre in October. Tokyo’s new 68,000-seat National Stadium, which will serve as the centrepiece for this year’s Games, officially opened in December.

The last permanent venue under construction for the Games is the Tokyo Aquatics Centre and is due to be delivered later this month.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics will take place from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympics to follow from August 25 to September 6.

Image: Tokyo 2020