A new gymnasium exclusively for para sports will be constructed in the Tokyo Bay area by next spring, a body promoting Japanese para sports announced Wednesday.
According to the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, a venue will be built in the new urban center known as the Rinkai Fukutoshin area in Shinagawa Ward, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday, and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2018.
The construction cost for the Nippon Foundation Para Arena is estimated to be around 790 million yen (about $7 million).
"It is of great significance that this gymnasium will be built. We were offered a great spot in the middle of Tokyo," said Yoshiro Mori, president of the organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Meanwhile, wheelchair rugby national team member Shinichi Shimakawa expressed his excitement at the long-awaited positive changes in training infrastructure for para athletes.
"For many years we've struggled to find training space. I'm glad our training environment will improve," he said.
The facility will be located at the current site of the Museum of Maritime Science in Odaiba and also be used for promotional and marketing activities to help raise awareness of para sports ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Many athletes have been refused use of training centers for para sports such as wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball because of accessibility barriers and concerns about damage to the flooring.