The Tokyo 2020 Aquatics Centre, a newly built permanent venue for the upcoming Olympic Games, was officially opened on Saturday October 24, 2020.

The inauguration of Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Saturday unveiled the state-of-the-art facility, which will encourage athletes to continue with their preparations and give their best performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games next year, from July 23- August 8, 2021.

Tokyo Aquatics Centre ©Tokyo 2020

The ceremony included a dynamic demonstration where athletes showcased their respective disciplines, including swimming, diving and artistic swimming. Many of the athletes who took part in the inauguration have already qualified for the Games next year.

The Aquatics Centre will host swimming, diving and artistic swimming, along with Paralympic swimming competitions. It includes a 10-lane main pool, a training pool and a diving pool with the venue allowing a capacity of 15,000 spectators for Games-time. Both the main pool and the warm-up pool also feature movable floors and walls and have adapting depth options.

The water polo tournament will take place at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Centre, and marathon swimming will take place at the Odaiba Marine Park.

Rikako Ikee ©Tokyo 2020

Japan’s swimming star Rikako Ikee joined three other athletes, including two Para swimmers, in showcasing a mixed 200m medley relay. Ikee, who is the national record holder of both the 100m and 200m freestyle along with the 50m and 100m butterfly, praised the modern facility.

"It was comfortable to swim in because it’s 3m-deep and I think it’s a great arena," she said in a statement. The 20-year-old, who recently overcame leukemia, said that she was excited thinking about the top athletes from Japan and the rest of the world who will perform there.

Japanese swimmer Yamaguchi ©Tokyo 2020

Ken Terauchi, a veteran diver who will compete in his sixth Olympic Games in front of a home crowd, together with partner Sakai Sho, showcased a synchro dive from the 3m springboard at the ceremony, said:

“I think it’s a huge and refreshing venue. I’m also happy that I could make a fresh start towards next year. I will continue polishing my skills and do my best to give the finest performance at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.”

Meanwhile, Sakai said the springboard felt good to step on and above all, he was impressed by the number of seats in the venue.

“It felt so good just thinking of the real Games-time and imagining myself standing on the podium in this venue,” he commented.

Ken Terauchi and Sakai Sho ©Tokyo 2020

On the occasion, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike expressed her satisfaction with the venue and reiterated the government’s commitment to deliver a safe environment for the Olympic Games.

“To overcome COVID-19 and to have a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games, we will work together with the national government and Tokyo 2020 to ensure thorough preparations," she said.

Opening Ceremony ©Tokyo 2020

After the Olympic Games, the legacy of the venue will be assured. It is expected to be the cornerstone of Japanese swimming. It will also function as a swimming facility where Tokyo residents can engage in sports and maintain their health and wellbeing. With the Tokyo 2020 Games postponed to July 2021, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has decided to open the facility for private use as well as to sports federations for competitions and practice use as of 25 October.