The venue will host the rowing and canoe sprint competitions at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Constructed by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on a waterfront site, which is also located close to central Tokyo, the venue will offer stunning views of the Tokyo Bay and the Tokyo Gate Bridge to athletes, spectators and broadcasters alike.
The field of play is protected from the effect of waves, currents and tides by wave absorbers, two dams and water gates. The venue also includes start facilities, a finish tower, a timing hut, a boathouse, pontoons and a 2,000-seat grandstand. Additional temporary seating and standing areas will be available during the Games so that the Sea Forest Waterway can host up to 16,000 spectators.
The layout of the venue is based on the Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines, with the facility designed to be accessible to all, including older people, people with impairments, parents with infant strollers and those with guide dogs. It has universally-designed toilets and wheelchair-accessible seats in areas designed with enough height difference between the rows of seating to ensure that those in wheelchairs can see clearly, even if spectators in front of them stand up. The venue also has solar panels and other state-of-the-art technology to help reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.
The opening of yet another venue marks agreat achievement and shows the readiness of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for the first wave of test events this summer and for hosting the Olympic Games in just over 400 days.
An opening ceremony took place today with Japanese Olympians and Paralympians, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, the Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Shunichi Suzuki, and World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland.
Said Rolland: “Today we see the efforts of years of hard work come to fruition with the official opening of the Sea Forest Waterway rowing course. This is truly an Olympic-standard regatta venue, and I know it will help make for a fabulous rowing regatta at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is also designed with sustainability in mind, with the Sea Forest Waterway being an asset to local, national and international rowing for years to come. On behalf of FISA I would like to thank you and express my gratitude to all the contributors and specifically to TMG and Governor Koike who have made this fantastic project a reality.”
To celebrate the opening, the Japan Rowing Association organised special races in which Japanese Olympians, the world-famous Oxford and Cambridge alumni boat teams, some well-known Japanese university rowing teams, and para athletes took part.
The legacy of this new permanent venue has already been planned. Following the Tokyo 2020 Games, the course will be used for international rowing and canoe competitions, and will become one of the premier locations in Asia for water sports, with the aim of hosting multiple events annually, starting with the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in August, which will also serve as a test event.
The Sea Forest Waterway will also be open to the general public; rowing and canoe classes and other activities will be organised; and it will become a place where Tokyo residents can enjoy water sports and leisure activities.