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Japan bids farewell to Olympic stadium before July's demolition

Published on Jun 1, 2014 12:14 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese sports fans bid an emotional farewell to Tokyo's National Stadium at the weekend with a lavish ceremony to close the venue before demolition begins in July.

The stadium, built to host the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, will be dismantled over 15 months and replaced on the same site with a new US$1.6 billion (S$2 billion) venue to stage the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

A day of spectacular laser shows, fireworks, sports and music brought the curtain down on the 56-year-old stadium, before fans were invited onto the pitch to snap photos, lift replica trophies and loll around barefoot once the proceedings were over.

There were misty eyes among the 36,000-strong crowd as the Olympic flame perched atop the back stand finally went out for good.

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