Opening Ceremony for The Nippon Foundation Para ArenaDedicated facility in Tokyo’s Odaiba provides training environment for 2020

With roughly two years until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, an opening ceremony was held on June 1 to mark the completion of The Nippon Foundation Para Arena, a dedicated para sports gymnasium in Odaiba, Tokyo, that will provide a training environment for para athletes. Construction of the facility, located on the grounds of the Museum of Maritime Science in Tokyo, began late last year and has been overseen by The Nippon Foundation Para Support Center (the “Support Center”).

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View of The Nippon Foundation Para Arena

The Arena is a one-story, steel structure, covering 3,187 square meters with 2,989 square meters of floor space. The main floor is 2,989 square meters and the ceiling height ranges from 6.85 to 8.05 meters. Universal design is fully incorporated, including the use of sliding doors that can be easily navigated by athletes in sports-use wheelchairs. Changing rooms, shower rooms, and toilets are also designed for ease of use by para athletes. The main floor is marked for boccia, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and goalball. There is also a gym for personal training and locker rooms, as well as a meeting room, a medical office, an administrative office, equipment storage space, and outdoor parking. To encourage the athletes, the large (2.6 x 6.1 meter) “i enjoy!” mural painted for the Support Center’s office by Shingo Katori, a former member of the disbanded vocal group SMAP, has been recreated next to the Arena’s entrance using Lego blocks.

To provide a place for daily practice and promote awareness of para sports, the Support Center is making the Arena and its facilities available to organizations participating in official sports of the Tokyo Paralympics and their club teams and individuals, as well as to organizations recognized by the Support Center as being involved in the promotion of para sports. This is not a permanent facility; it is scheduled to operate until March 2022.

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View of the main floor
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View of the main floor
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Lego reproduction of Shingo Katori’s mural by the main entrance

At the opening ceremony, Yasushi Yamawaki, Chairman of the Support Center, expressed his strong expectations and hopes, noting, “Today this Arena becomes available, and I hope athletes will use it as much as they like, however they like, as they train for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. At the same time, I will do all that I can to make the Arena a base for the promotion of para sports and the Paralympic movement.

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Group photo taken in front of the Arena’s entrance

Remarks by other speakers at the ceremony included:

Mitsunori Torihara, chairman of the Japanese Para-Sports Association’s Japanese Paralympic Committee: “Finding a gymnasium that is easy to use has been the biggest issue facing Paralympic organizations in terms of place, time, and equipment. Having a gymnasium specifically built for para sports this close to the athletes’ village is unprecedented. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Susumu Yoshida, president of the Japanese Para-Powerlifting Federation: “I am full of gratitude. I hope leagues and athletes will give it their all.”

Shinichi Shimakawa, Japan’s wheelchair rugby team member at the London and Rio Paralympics: “I look forward to making good use of this facility as we work to achieve a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. I hope this will become a place for the promotion and development of all para sports.”

Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation: “I am very happy that we were able to play a part in the realization of this wonderful facility.” He also expressed his hope that in addition to being a place where athletes can practice, it would play an important role in educating Japan’s children about para sports.

Yoshiro Mori, President of The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games: “We can’t be satisfied with just having built this facility, we need to think about how to get the most use from it. I hope it is used until it becomes worn out, and that it becomes a place where the lives of para athletes blossom.”

Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo: “I hope this arena will provide the strength to aim for medals, and give people in Japan and around the world courage.” She added that she hoped a successful Tokyo Paralympics would contribute to the success of the Tokyo Olympics.

Details of The Nippon Foundation Para Arena

Address 3-1 Higashi Yashio, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Hours 9:30 to 21:00 (Doors open at 9:00 and close at 21:30)
Fee Free, but advance registration and reservations are required.

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