After a year-long delay, multiple setbacks and numerous health scares, the Tokyo Olympics is about to start. There will be no crowds due to Covid restrictions and many athletes have decided not to travel to Japan.
But a high price has already been paid for the delay, and failure to compete would have been crushing for the athletes who have made it to Tokyo. The Games are facing significant opposition in Japan due to their Covid risks, while the first cases of athletes testing positive at the Olympic Village were reported by local officials on Sunday.
But here we are, ready for the the most controversial Games in 41 years.
The International Olympic Committee has added five sports to the Tokyo programme to attract younger audiences: karate, softball, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.
The opening and closing ceremonies of the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Games will be staged at the Olympic Stadium, which will also host athletics events and football matches.
More details about the pandemic-ravaged Games are below.
Main events and venues
Football (July 21 to August 7)
Tokyo Stadium, International Stadium Yokohama, Miyagi Stadium, Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, Saitama Stadium, Sapporo Dome
Stars to watch
Athletics (July 30 to August 8)
Tokyo Stadium and Sapporo Odori Park
Stars to watch
Tennis (July 24 to August 1)
Arlake Tennis Park
Swimming (July 24 to August 1)
Tokyo Aquatics Centre
Basketball (July 25 to August 8)
Aomi Urban Sports Park (3×3 version) and Saitama Super Arena
Golf (July 29 to August 1 men’s event, August 4-7 women’s event)
Kasumigaseki Country Club
Cycling (July 25-August 9)
Izu Velodrome, Ariake Urban Sports Park, Izu MTB Course, Fuji International Speedway
Rowing (July 25-August 1)
Sea Forest Waterway
Badminton (July 24 to August 2)
Musashino Forest Sport Plaza
Shooting (July 24 to August 2)
Asaka Shooting Range
Judo (July 24-31)
Boxing (July 24 to August 8)
Gymnastics (July 24-August 3)
Ariake Gymnastics Centre
Rugby Sevens (July 26-31): Tokyo Stadium
Table tennis (July 24 to August 6): Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium
Wrestling (August 1-7): Makuhari Messe Hall
UAE Athletes to watch
The UAE will be banking on the trio who represented them at Rio 2016 — shooter Saif bin Futtais and judokas Victor Scvortov and Ivan Remarenco — in the medal hunt.
The six-member squad in Japan — that also includes wildcards swimmer Yousuf Al Matrooshi, and track athletes Hassan Al Noobi and Fatima Al Hosani — is the smallest contingent the Emirates has sent sending to an Olympics since their first Games participation at Los Angeles 1984.
Where to watch the Olympics in the UAE
beIN sports are the official broadcast partners of the Olympics in the region.
What’s up with the medals?
Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics will put their medals around their own necks to protect against spreading the coronavirus. Not just that, all the medals at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo have been made from recycled electronic waste. The Tokyo Games aims to be the ‘greenest ever’ Olympics, powered by renewable energy and recycled medals.
Are the beds at the Olympic Village made of cardboard?
Keeping with the theme of a Green games and also to maintain highest-possible health standards during the ongoing pandemic, the beds in the Olympic Village are made from reinforced cardboard. Organisers have set a target of reusing or recycling 65 per cent of waste generated during the event.