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Monday, June 24, 2024

A Double Dose Of Water Sports activities Motion At Tokyo Aquatics Centre


The delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics passed off in 2021 throughout 43 venues; 8 new everlasting ones, 25 beforehand present services and 10 momentary locations. Among the new constructions included Japan Nationwide Stadium, Musashino Forest Sports activities Plaza, Oi Hockey Stadium, Ariake Area and Tokyo Aquatic Centre. Because of the pandemic only a few individuals really acquired to step foot inside these locations although. Simply over two years later and I lastly went to the latter. Twice!

The seek for new sports activities this 12 months has unearthed some attention-grabbing experiences that are largely unknown by individuals carefully related to that individual sport. As I started to take a look at water sports activities in Tokyo (there was nearly nothing in English on the web) I got here throughout a few occasions at Tokyo Aquatic Centre in Koto Ward so bought some tickets and, feeling in want of some train, I made a decision to take the 80 minute cycle trip possibility for the primary occasion.

#1. Swimming

This Aquatic Heart was accomplished in February 2020 and consists of a swimming pool, diving pool, sub pool, observe space and 15,000 seats. There have been a few hundred individuals there at greatest for this occasion but the seats both facet of me and round me have been all taken which means I couldn’t unfold out.

The sixty fifth Japan Championships 25m swimming competitors included a large number of races masking all kinds; freestyle, entrance crawl, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and medley. The races in the beginning of the session noticed the opponents introduced quickly with little or no time to know who anybody was collaborating. Not that I might have recognized anybody anyway!

My allotted seat was on the entrance row degree with the beginning blocks which did present me with some nice pictures of the race begins.

 

Watching how varied opponents put together for the beginning was fairly attention-grabbing and little doubt there was some superstition concerned by way of deciding when to step up on the blocks.

 

Having just about solely ever watched swimming on TV in the course of the Olympics it was  attention-grabbing to see the way it was all introduced by way of the swimmer introductions (which did occur for all of the finals) as they got here out from behind the display screen earlier than bowing and  waving to the digicam operator stood in entrance of them. My vantage level additionally allowed me to take a peak behind the scenes and see what was occurring earlier than the intros as somebody with a clipboard or pill tried to organise them into the suitable order for getting into the fray.

 

There have been a few medal ceremonies all through the afternoon and, as ever in Japan, a foolish mascot or two has to all the time be readily available for such an event.

Total there have been round 20-25 races of varied distances all through the afternoon and it was enjoyable to see them however with out the TV graphics you see when watching at dwelling it was really far harder to see who had received every race.

There was an enormous TV display screen above the pool however the winners names weren’t proven the moment the contact pad sensor timing gadgets have been touched on the climax of every race.

#2. Water Polo

5 days later I used to be again on the pool however this time I glided by prepare. The Aquatics Centre is simply ten minutes on foot from Tatsumi station on the Yurakucho Line which is dwelling to Octopus Sq. of Fascinating Japanese Playground Buildings fame! Not like with the swimming, there wasn’t anybody round outdoors and I questioned if the place was even open! Fortunately the doorways robotically opened as I approached them and there have been a few individuals inside taking the tickets who have been most stunned to see a foreigner arrive. They even confirmed if I used to be actually there to see the water polo!

Tokyo’s no 1 gaijin water polo fan??

No sooner had I discovered a seat and it was the beginning as a swimmer from every staff raced to the centre to get the ball first and move it again to their teammates who adopted behind. I had no thought how a water polo match started beforehand so this was one thing of a shock I suppose and made me realise how a lot vitality have to be used enjoying this sport.

 

No sooner had I discovered a seat and it was the beginning as a swimmer from every staff raced to the centre to get the ball first and move it again to their teammates who adopted behind. I had no thought how a water polo match started beforehand so this was one thing of a shock I suppose and made me realise how a lot vitality have to be used enjoying this sport.

As somebody who is just not such a powerful swimmer this regarded like an extremely troublesome sport to play. I all the time simply assumed water polo gamers’ ft (or no less than their toes!) have been on the ground however they’re really treading water in a deep pool the entire time.

 

It was an entertaining sport of finish to finish motion not too dissimilar to basketball (not that my data of that sport is just too nice!) the place it looks like one staff scores after which the opposite replies and so forth. It was just about neck and neck all through the 4 eight-minute quarters with no staff ever going greater than two targets clear. I used to be sat with the NSSU (Nippon Sports activities Science College) followers and “we” ultimately got here out on prime!

She shoots! She scores! All of the 5-metre penalties have been scored on this match

This was the 99th Japan Championship Water Polo Competitors however little did I do know that  all of the groups have been college ones. Feminine ones too (the male competitors was within the afternoon) so I don’t know what the opposite spectators should have thought once they noticed a overseas man of my age watching alone, and thru binoculars at occasions too!!

The groups line up post-match to bow as is customary in Japanese sport

My ticket additionally allowed me to observe the opposite semi closing match between Shumei College WPC and Fujimura Water Polo Crew however I needed to go and meet a pal so needed to move on that. With only a few informal water polo followers contained in the centre, the vast majority of spectators have been solely there to help their staff which means the group modified between the 2 matches.

It was nice to have visited one other Tokyo Olympic venue and when (if!) I watch the sports activities going down on the pool in Paris 2024 I’ll have a greater understanding and appreciation of them.

Click on right here to learn ‘What It`s Like To Be A Spectator At The Tokyo 2020 Olympics’

Click on right here to learn ‘Reignite Your Ardour For The Olympics At This Tokyo Museum’

Click on right here to learn ‘Hockey! Hockey! Hockey! Oi Oi Oi! Lastly Watching Reside Hockey In Tokyo After My Tokyo 2020 Setback’

Click on right here to learn ‘The “Different” Olympic Museum In Tokyo’



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