Tokyo 2020 locks down venues for 2021

The organising committee for next year’s postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo has confirmed that all venues have been secured for the event, with the competition schedule having been confirmed.

All the venues that were to be used for this year’s Games, which were delayed by a year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will be used in 2021. The announcement has been made just over a year before the Games begin on July 23, 2021.

A total of 43 competition venues will be used next year, along with the Olympic Village, International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre. Organisers also announced that the competition schedule would remain the same, with some minor timing adjustments for operational reasons.

Although the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, competition will begin two days earlier with softball and football matches. The first medal event will be the women’s shooting 10m air rifle, which will start at 8:30am on July 24.

Next year’s Games, which will still be known as Tokyo 2020, will see the debuts of 3×3 basketball, skateboarding, freestyle BMX, karate, sport climbing and surfing at the Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said: “Following the decision to postpone the Games, Tokyo 2020 immediately formed the New Launch Task Force and began to organise systems ready to face this unprecedented challenge. Our staff have been working tirelessly around the clock on these preparations, and it is my pleasure to announce today that we have successfully secured all venues and confirmed the competition schedule for next year’s Games.

“I believe that the moment when athletes around the world emerge from this long, dark tunnel to gather at the Games will be a moment of pure and priceless joy. I have no doubt that people around the world will find this sight deeply moving. We will continue to give our utmost to ensure that the Tokyo Games are of special value as a symbol of unity and solidarity in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.”

IOC president Thomas Bach added: “The Olympic Village is the beating heart of the Olympic Games, while the venues are its soul. I am delighted that the Village and the venues have been confirmed for next year. This means that the athletes will have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“Athletes from all around the world will live together under one roof in the Olympic Village, sharing meals together, celebrating together, discussing together and forming these unique Olympic communities. That Tokyo 2020 has been able to achieve this and confirm the competition schedule despite the extraordinary circumstances is testament to the work of the Joint Steering Committee led by John Coates and Yoshiro Mori.”

The Games were officially postponed on March 24 and Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto has previously conceded that organisers would face “massive” additional costs in securing the facilities for a rescheduled Olympics.

Muto stressed that it would not just be the 41 competition venues that needed to be secured again, but also thousands of existing contracts spanning the likes of accommodation, security and ticketing.

A series of activities have been planned to mark the one-year-to-go date later this week, including the launch of the #StrongerTogether Olympic brand campaign. Activities will be digitally-led and centre around the Olympic flame.

Image: Tokyo 2020