An exclusive para sports gymnasium officially opened Friday in Tokyo with a ceremony marking its completion amid the buildup to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Construction of the Nippon Foundation Para Arena, located on the bayside in Shinagawa Ward's urban Rinkai Fukutoshin area, began last December. It will serve as a dedicated training center for para athletes and to raise awareness of their sports ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said that "a wonderful arena was created" and expressed hope the facility will be used extensively, while Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who attended the opening ceremony, hailed it as para sports "palace."
Many para athletes, such as wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball players, have struggled to find suitable training centers because of accessibility barriers and concerns over damage to flooring.
The barrier-free Para Arena is a response to the issues and can be used free of charge by para athletes.
After cutting the ribbon Wednesday, wheelchair rugby national team member Shinichi Shimakawa said, "I want to use it as much as possible to train hard and win medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics."