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With the 2020 Games postponed, Tokyo has opened its Olympic Aquatics Centre

Dan Cortese

27 October 2020

TOKYO has opened the aquatics centre that would have been the centrepiece of all diving and swimming events at the 2020 Olympics.

With this year's Games postponed to July 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tokyo Metropolitan government took the decision to open the facility up for private use and to sports federations for competition and practice use. 

The centre was officially inaugurated in a low-key, socially-distanced event on 24 October.

Tokyo 2020's president has said that the Games will be scrapped altogether if the pandemic continues to pose a risk in the summer of next year. The event would not be postponed again to 2022.

Above: The completed venue will be more than ready for the Games by July 2021. Below: The roof of the centre being lifted into place (images courtesy of Tokyo 2020).

The facility includes a 10-lane main pool, sub-pool and a diving pool and will have seating capacity for 15,000 people during the Games.

If the finished building weren't state-of-the-art in itself, several innovative architectural and engineering methods were employed during its construction.

The 7,000-tonne, 10-metre-thick roof was built at ground level and was the first part of the facility to be constructed. It was then lifted 37-metres into place, allowing workers to continue building the venue underneath.

This saved time and reduced costs, while helping to create a safer working environment for those assembling the roof on site.

Above and Below: The inauguration ceremony featured appearances from the Tokyo Governor and the Japanese Olympic swimming team (images courtesy of Tokyo 2020).

The venue also has solar panels and ground heat exchanger systems which will be used for heating the pools’ water, reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.

The inauguration event was attended by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Seiko Hashimoto.

The ceremony featured demonstrations of Olympic Swimming, Diving, and Artistic Swimming, and Paralympic Swimming.

Afterwards, local residents were invited to tour the venue. The facility is set to become a public venue after the Games.

Header image courtesy of Tokyo 2020.

Find out more about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic venues in our documentary:


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