The test event sets up a new way of bringing fans closer to the action
Seventy-three world-class athletes, record holders and upcoming weightlifting stars gathered together last 6 and 7 July at the Tokyo International Forum for “READY STEADY TOKYO Weightlifting” test event.
The event was organised by the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Japan Weightlifting Association with the support of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF).
The athletes’ training area was open to the media and a viewing area overlooking the training area was open to the general public.
“The preparations for the Tokyo 2020 weightlifting competitions have given us every reason to expect that these will be outstanding Olympic Games for our sport and its leading athletes,” IWF President Tamás Aján said.
Tokyo International Forum
A world-class exhibition and arts centre, Tokyo International Forum is one of the city’s most unique buildings, notable for its striking ship-like architecture.
The Tokyo International Forum holds a wide variety of events on a daily basis – from international conferences to concerts – but only a handful of sports events have been held in the forum's theatre-like venue.
Running a major sports competition like the Olympic and Paralympic Games may present a challenge but as a space for cultural exchanges, the Tokyo International Forum is only fitting to become the home for the Games next year.
The Tokyo 2020 Games Vision states that the Games will be the most innovative in history and holding the competition at this world-renown venue is in line with this vision.
See through glass
The training hall was located at the second basement of the venue featuring an elevated glass walkway, which allowed spectators to get a glimpse of the athletes during their practice lifts. Many passers-by stopped to watch the athletes as they prepared for their competition.
And good news for next year’s ticket holders: fans can view the athletes in training before they take to the main stage to attempt an Olympic or Paralympic win.
The warm up area was set up behind the main stage, and was equipped with 12 barbells for use by the athletes.
Monitors were also on hand to check the athletes’ practice lifts and scores. The athletes used the warm up area to raise their concentration levels and make any last-minute adjustments.
Deputy Executive Director of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee’s Games Operations Bureau Yasuo Mori, explained the reason for the viewing area, “I understand this is the first time that a warm up area has been open to the public gaze since the Sydney 2000 Games.”
“As long as there are no objections from the athletes, I think this is an excellent initiative and a great way to attract new fans to the sport.”
The idea also seemed to gain favour with the athletes, with Kanae Yagi, a female weightlifter in the 55kg category, saying, "All kinds of people look at the athletes as they pass by. It gives people the opportunity to get to know more about the sport and the athletes.”
READY STEADY TOKYO
The weightlifting test event also doubled as a Silver Level Qualification event a Japan-Korean friendship tournament with many categories starring athletes from these countries.
Staging smaller tournaments like these as test events will be a staple in the READY STEADY TOKYO series as part of Tokyo 2020’s commitment to the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Agenda 2020 to hold smaller tournaments and using existing structures to provide cost-savings
Many more READY STEADY TOKYO test events will be held in the coming weeks and months in line with Tokyo 2020’s Games-Time preparations. This will allow the organisation to improve operations and ensure top-notch Games delivery next year.
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