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Tokyo 2020: Olympic Village welcomes first athletes

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Village officially opened its doors on Tuesday and began welcoming the world’s best athletes ahead of this year’s Games, which will take place between 23 July and 8 August.

Over 11,000 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team will compete in the Games, with the majority staying in the Olympic Village situated in the picturesque Harumi waterfront district of Tokyo.

Speaking about the athletes arriving, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The athletes are grateful that these Olympic Games are happening under these circumstances, and that all measures are being taken to deliver safe and secure Games. “After all that they had to overcome during this last year – where they did not know whether the next competition would take place, they did not know whether they could go to training the next day, they did not know where they would meet with their coach again – after all this additional stress during the pandemic, finally they can shine on the Olympic stage. And I hope that they will, under these circumstances nevertheless, enjoy it to the fullest.”

Around 85 per cent of those arriving in the Olympic Village will have been vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, all Village residents will follow strict COVID-19 countermeasures outlined in the Athletes and Team Officials Playbook. These include common hygiene practices such as mask wearing, hand sanitisation and physical distancing, as well as details covering daily screening testing and limitations on athletes’ movements.

Whilst in the Olympic Village, the residents will experience a range of unique features designed to make it feel like a home from home. For example, a dining hall, open 24/7, will offer around 700 food options, catering for all dietary requirements. A fitness centre will also be available, while those looking to relax between competitions can enjoy several recreation areas around the Village. In the residential facilities, the bed frames are made of cardboard and are 100 per cent recyclable, while blackout curtains have been installed to allow sleep at any time during the day.

In their quest to make these the most innovative Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 is operating several autonomous internal shuttle buses within the Village. There will also, for the first time in the history of the Games, be a dedicated treatment programme which will provide comprehensive medical care for female athletes, at the Clinic Complex (Polyclinic).

When the Games are over, the Olympic Village will become Japan’s first hydrogen-powered town and a barrier-free complex. Twenty-four buildings will provide a mix of housing for the elderly and young families. Designed to demonstrate an urban lifestyle that is both environmentally friendly and technologically advanced, the Olympic Village will have green spaces, residential dwellings and sites for international exchange, multi-generational activities in education, culture and sports, and private-public collaboration.

Two satellite Villages are also in operation outside the Tokyo Prefecture: Enoshima (Olympic Sailing Village) and Izu City (Olympic Cycling Village).

Credit: Olympics.com

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