By Hideki Mochizuki, Swimming World Japanese correspondent
TOKYO, Japan, September 10. THE hype here is Tokyo will never go away. Just days after Tokyo was selected as the site of the 2020 Olympic Games, wherever you go, you see people talking about the Olympics and wondering how the city will change during the next seven years.
There is certainly a massive investment planned to take place, reaching upwards of $4.6 billion U.S. dollars to set up 37 locations that will carry out 28 sports and a total of 306 events. Except for the new Olympic stadium and athlete village, swimming will feature the single largest investment by Japan.
The new Olympic aquatic center will be built to hold 20,000 spectators with a budget of upwards of $400 million U.S. dollars. The location will be the same as the current Tatsumi International Aquatic Center, where most national championships are currently held in Tokyo. The facility, however, only has about 5,000 seats available in its current state.
During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the new aquatic center will also house synchronized swimming, diving and water polo. Construction of the new center is scheduled to begin in 2016 and finish by 2019, with open water scheduled to take place at Tokyo Bay’s famous sightseeing destination called Odaiba.
Opening day of the 2020 Tokyo Games is slated for July 24, 2020 at 8 p.m. with more than $1.3 billion U.S. dollars budgeted for the new Olympic stadium. Swimming will take place July 25 to August 1.
Dream Come True for Swimmers
The selection of Tokyo proved to be a dream come true for Japanese swimmers.
400 IM world champion Daiya Seto is definitely looking forward to competing at home, and now has his sights set on some lofty goals
“Well, I would like to get both gold medals in 2016 and 2020,” said Seto who will be 26 years old in 2020. “Hosting the Olympic Games in my own country is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity. And, I will have a chance to compete at the Tokyo Games at my peak age of 26. I am very excited.”
Seto’s chief national rival Kosuke Hagino, an 18-year-old phenom, also now has a big target on Tokyo 2020.
“2020 will now be my biggest goal as an athlete aiming to get multiple gold medals,” Hagino told local media.
Japan’s national team head coach Norimasa Hirai is definitely looking to the youth of the country to develop into a powerhouse by Tokyo 2020.
“On top of bringing in great athletes, this will be an opportunity to establish a better system in swimming to support swimmers and coaches. We can see those who were born in 1994 will be 26 years old in 2020, and hope that we can build the strongest team toward it.”