Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike finally inaugurated on Saturday the Aquatics Centre for next year’s rescheduled Olympics, seven months after it was supposed to open.
The Aquatics Centre was due to officially open on March 22 but that event was cancelled over coronavirus fears. Two days later the entire Tokyo Games was postponed until 2021.
Organisers hope to welcome the world’s top swimmers and divers to the centre next year, as well as up to 15,000 fans. Organisers have yet to decide, however, whether supporters will be allowed into venues during the Games.
The opening ceremony, with hundreds of officials in attendance, struck a hopeful tone. Koike was keen to stress that the $523 million Aquatics Centre will benefit Tokyo residents as well as Olympic athletes.
The ceremony was followed by diving and swimming exhibitions by Japanese athletes, including Rikako Ikee, whose battle back from leukaemia has been seen as a reflection of the Games’ own attempt at resurrection.