First of new Tokyo Olympics venues opens

The exterior of the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, which opened in Tokyo yesterday.

It is the first new permanent venue for the 2020 Olympics and its opening was a welcome public relations boost for the organisers after a series of setbacks.

The opening of the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, which will host badminton and modern pentathlon fencing, offers organisers of the Tokyo Games some respite after a disastrous rollout of plans for the 2020 Olympic stadium.

The venue, which will also host wheelchair basketball at the 2020 Paralympics, is the first of eight new permanent venues to be completed.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tore up the blueprint for the new national stadium two years ago amid public anger over its US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) price tag in an embarrassing setback.

Designs for the official Games mascot then had to be scrapped following accusations of plagiarism.

Tokyo will have a total of 39 venues for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, comprising 23 existing sites and eight temporary facilities, in addition to the eight new permanent ones.

PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 26, 2017, with the headline 'First of new Tokyo Olympics venues opens'. Print Edition | Subscribe