Ariake grande: Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic venue opens in style

Volleyball and wheelchair basketball to take place at the $340m (JPY 37 billion) Ariake Arena inaugurated after December completion

By Shintaro Kano ·

Ariake Arena, the volleyball and wheelchair basketball venue of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, was opened to the public on Sunday (2 February), leaving just the Tokyo Aquatics Centre to be completed among its eight new permanent venues.

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23 Jul - 8 Aug

Tokyo 2020 | Olympic Games

Japan

The Japanese women's volleyball team took the court at the $340 million U.S. (37 billion yen) Arena as part of an inauguration demonstration.

They will return to the venue for its first competition from 21-25 April, the four-way Tokyo Challenge Cup featuring Japan, Australia, China, and South Korea. Both men and women will participate.

Three-time Olympian and middle blocker for Japan, Erika Araki gushed to the assembled media about her new summer home.

"It's a fabulous arena," - Erika Araki, Japanese volleyball player.

"(In April) we will be able to get a feel that is much closer to the Games with the crowd here. It will be a good opportunity for us to get comfortable." Araki added.

The Olympic volleyball tournament will be contested by 12 men's and women's team each. The men's final is 8 August with the women's set for the following day.

The Ariake Arena is within walking distance of the gymnastics, tennis and BMX venues for Tokyo 2020. After the Games, the Arena will be used as a multi-purpose facility.

Ariake Arena, Tokyo 2020 venue for volleyball and wheelchair basketball [Olympic Channel]

After construction from 3 March, 2016, to 9 December, 2019, the Arena was inaugurated during a tape-cutting ceremony featuring Japanese J-Pop band AKB48.

The event was also attended by the host nation's wheelchair basketball team, as well as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto and Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita.

"We have less than six months to go the Olympics. We are counting on this venue to be packed and loud during the Games, which I hope will inspire the athletes on to a world-class performance," Koike said of the 15,000-seater arena during the opening press conference.

"This venue is designed to be a versatile venue that can host not only sport but entertainment and other types of events. I hope it will be a venue that will exemplify the legacy of the Games". - Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

"There's the Aquatics Centre to be finished but in terms of infrastructure, we are nearly done." Koike added.

The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host swimming, diving, and artistic swimming events at Tokyo 2020, will be finished this month with the inauguration set for March.

The new National stadium, which will host the Olympic Opening and Closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events, opened in December 2019 and featured sprint world record holder Usain Bolt being beaten in an exhibition relay race.

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