Olympic Fever in Tokyo

It’s been a busy week in Japan; one year out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The 12 months to go milestone was celebrated earlier this week on 24 July with the Tokyo Olympic Games Organising Committee (TOCOG) unveiling the Olympic medals that will be given to the winning athletes at the Games next year.

The Olympic and Paralympic torches were also on display and Malaysian mixed doubles pair Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai ventured into the city to check out the activities.

“We heard we could see the Olympic Torch and Paralympic Torch. I’ve only ever seen it on TV. But to hold it was fantastic,” said Lai.

“The Olympics is more than a competition to me. This is the dream of every player,” Goh added.

Goh and Lai are in a tough battle to qualify for the Olympics, with Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallists Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying and Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing.

Lai said they are looking forward to the next 12 months.

“There are three pairs in the top 16 of the world. And only two pairs will be able to qualify for the Olympics. So, it’s a really, really tough competition among us three now.

A big year ahead for the Malaysians as they chase their Olympic dream.

“But we will all work hard and whoever qualifies will be wearing the Malaysian flag at Olympics with pride,” said Lai.

At the #1YearToGo celebrations, TOCOG gave an update on the progress of Olympic venues and the readiness of the city.

Badminton will be held at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza about 30 minutes from the heart of Tokyo.

The venue has already been in use and for the last two years, staging the DAIHATSU YONEX Japan Open in 2018 and 2019.

Our badminton athletes will also be interested in the progress of the Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium – host of the Opening Ceremony.

Both are still under construction and are expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Here’s some fun facts about the venues:

Musashino Forest Sport Plaza

  • Total area of 30,000 square metres split into two sections – the main arena building and the sub-arena building
  • The main arena has the largest surface area of any indoor facility for Tokyo 2020 (about 4,900 square metres)
  • It can accommodate up to 10,000 spectators including temporary seats
  • It was the first new venue opened for Tokyo 2020 – 25 November 2017
  • It cost over US$300 million to build
Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.

Olympic Stadium

  • Construction began in December 2016
  • About 2,400 workers currently on site
  • Building height – 47.4 metres
  • Roof length – 60 metres. It is made with Japanese wood and steel
  • Capacity for the Olympic Games – 60,000
  • Costs up until now – 149,000,000,000 Yen

Olympic Village

  • 21 apartment buildings on a 44-hectare plot
  • 14 to 18 floors
  • 18,000 beds in 3,800 flats in total
  • 12,000 athletes and 6,000 of their support staff are expected to stay there
  • To be used as residential buildings after the games