The HULIC DAIHATSU Japan Para Badminton International 2019, which doubled as the official Tokyo 2020 Test Event, was an ideal chance for players, officials and organisers to test the venue for the badminton competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in September next year.
Much work has gone into refurbishing the Yoyogi National Stadium for the Olympic Games (where it will host handball) and the Paralympic Games.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said everyone is very excited to see Para badminton make its debut on the Paralympic sports programme at Tokyo 2020.
“Japan is a fitting backdrop to present our Paralympic disciplines where Japan has for many years hosted numerous tournaments considered among the best and most prestigious by our players,” he said.
“It is certainly a landmark occasion for our sport that Para badminton is debuting at Tokyo 2020 and it’s fantastic for our players and the wider badminton community to be accepted into the Paralympic Games family.
“The Yoyogi National Stadium is a venue that has hosted badminton tournaments for many years so it’s a facility that we’re familiar with and we’re excited to be here this week and get going for next year.
“The old structure has been touched up and it looks like a venue that we will be happy to play badminton in for the Paralympics.”
Originally built for the 1964 Summer Olympics where it staged aquatics and basketball, the Yoyogi National Stadium has been upgraded to meet the modern needs of sport, especially for Para athletes. The arena is famous for its suspension roof design, and has earned a glowing international review.
With a seating capacity of more than 10,000, the gymnasium’s high ceiling and vast space is a rather new experience for many Para badminton players.
Leading Japanese player Sarina Satomi said during the week: “It was like playing at the real Paralympics. It’s the first time playing in this venue because usually Para badminton is held in other smaller stadiums and only big events are held here, so it’s a good feeling to try it out.”
Both wheelchair rugby and Para badminton will be held at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
During the official Tokyo 2020 test event, the BWF also brought AirBadminton to Japan for the very first time with some 1,200 able-bodied and Para players, volunteers and spectators participating in the outdoor activation.
The outdoor AirBadminton court and supply of AirShuttles will now remain in Tokyo and will be used for future AirBadminton activities.
The plan is for the court to be fully utilised for any activities by the Japan Para Badminton Federation, Nippon Badminton Association and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Organising Committee.
The Tokyo 2020 Para badminton competition runs from 2-6 September.