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Tokyo 2020 venues on track for completion, say organisers

In this Aug 20, 2018 file photo, Japan’s Rikako Ikee poses on the podium after winning the women’s 100m freestyle final during the swimming competition at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP)

Olympics medal hopeful Ikee diagnosed with leukaemia

TOKYO, Feb 12, (RTRS): Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic venues remain on track to be completed in time for test events scheduled for later this year, according to Games organizers.

Test events for sailing and water polo have already been held but the main bulk to testing is due to begin this summer, including at venues purpose built for the Games.

Other than the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic and Paralympic athletes village, Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) is building eight new competition venues for the Games.

Many of the events are scheduled to be held at pre-existing venues in a bid to keep costs down.

During a media venue tour on Tuesday, organizers from the TMG said construction goals were being met.

“Each arena is preparing for the test events scheduled for around summer and construction is proceeding smoothly,” Tomohiro Terasawa, venue director for the Ariake Arena, told Reuters.

“We’re working hard to ensure everything is on time.”

The Ariake Arena, which will host volleyball and wheelchair basketball, is 51 percent completed as on January 2019, the organizers informed.

The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host swimming and diving, is also over half completed while the Sea Forest Waterway, due to hold a rowing test event as early as August, is almost 80 percent finished.

There have been fears over the venue for tennis at the Tokyo 2020 Games, after the contractor hired to renovate parts of the Ariake Tennis Park went bankrupt in October.

However, the TMG has found a new contractor to work on re-building 17 outdoor courts that should be ready in time for the Olympics.

“For tennis, one part of the construction was delayed,” said Terasawa. “One company’s business was doing badly and it went under. The site reviewed its order and currently a new company is doing the construction.”

The All Japan Tennis Championships, to be held in October, will serve as the test event for tennis.

 Organizers are confident that renovations to the show court at Ariake, which usually hosts the annual Japan Open, will be ready by that time with minor delays only impacting the outdoor courts.

Meanwhile, Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who won six titles at last year’s Asian Games and was considered a strong medal contender for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, said on Tuesday she had been diagnosed with leukaemia.

The 18-year-old was named Japanese Swimmer of the Year last month after her record-breaking exploits in the Jakarta pool.

“I was feeling ill and urgently came home from Australia, underwent testing and the diagnosis was leukaemia,” Ikee wrote on Twitter.

“I can’t believe it, it’s a confusing situation. But with treatment this is a disease that can be cured.”

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