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Happy, Blessed and Contented - Glimpses of the Tokyo Olympics

Anmona Handique Mahanta

Amidst the pandemic wails, battling to contain the Covid, after a long wait the Tokyo Summer Olympics began on 23rd July, 2021. It was of course a silent celebration to welcome the best athletes on the planet and to see them perform at the auspicious sports event. In today’s episode of ‘My Sakura Tales’, I am penning down my experiences while sneaking into some of the few Olympic venues out here in Japan and where I could catch a few glimpse of live sport events held at the very heart of the Tokyo City.

The recent Covid surge had already ruined the hopes and dreams of people to watch live the beautiful grand ceremony of the Olympics and the entire events. And despite being in the host city, we all had to take our seats at home and sit in front of the television or laptop to watch the exciting matches. But luckily, we got to know that there were some places where the public could get a glimpse to watch from afar and enjoy a few of the live moments of the games. Thanks to my recent Vlogging as a hobby, that made me cover a few of the important venues and especially the venue where our very own daughter of Assam, Lovelina Borgohain was playing. It was really the most exciting moment of life when after miles and miles of walking and catching different train routes we found ourselves just in front of the venues.

So it was a week before when the Olympics was just about to set in. And on a scorching weekend, I and my husband had decided to make a quick tour to a few venues near us. The first venue we attempted was the Boxing Arena where Lovelina Borgohain and legendary Indian Boxer Mary Kom had their great matches. The heat was unbearable with the mercury set as high as 34 degree centigrade. And thanks to the evil Covid for reminding us to put on the mask despite such inflamed heat. It was some 30 mins away from our place and for that we took two trains and also walked for around 6 kms to reach the venue. Unaware of the venue’s entrance, we swarmed with security guards while complying with strict restrictions; we managed to enter another part of the Arena which was the Edo-Tokyo museum. This is a historical museum that displays the entire artefacts right from the old Tokyo (which was earlier known as Edo) to the current Tokyo, the transition from the then Tokyo to the present Tokyo. We were elated to see the olive green roof shimmering under the blazing Sun and that was the first venue we covered which is known as the Kokugikan Arena, the place where Olympics Boxing events were to be held in a couple of days. The Kokugikan Arena is known as the spiritual home of the Japanese Sumo wrestling, being the national sport of Japan. After taking enough photographs and videos we lazily strolled in that area in search of convenience stores. We then reached the main entrance of the venue, embarked with tight security, a few journalists and other professional photographers were busy taking photos and all were hoping to get a glimpse of any athlete from inside. Of course, that was not at all possible. But it would have been really great had we had got a chance to meet Lovelina, the first woman boxer of Assam who represented the Olympics this time.

The Tokyo Olympic Athletes Village (Photo: AHM)

Next on our radar was the Tokyo Olympics Athletes village, which was another awesome experience. We had to walk for around 12-13 kms to reach the venue trafficked by police officials, local journalists and other global media channels and a few public like us. We were so amazed to see the flags of different countries hung on their balconies right from Korea to the Netherlands to Croatia, Germany, France, Greece to Portugal and many more. But sadly, we could not get any glimpse of our very own Indian National Flag. Definitely, they were hung on the other side of the building and entry was restricted to that side. It was indeed a beautiful moment when what we keep seeing and reading on the internet, we thankfully got the opportunity to watch live.

Another venue that we visited on the same day while returning home was located at a distance of around 15 mins ride from our place. The Olympic event Kayak and Canoe was scheduled in that venue being on a seaside. It was the most scintillating area with lush green landscapes and the blue river flowing gently with sounds of ripples in the water and the soothing air.

After having an amazing Olympic venue adventure, when we were just about to work on our Vlog, we got a quick call from one of our friends (Nabarun Goswami) living in Japan. From him we got to know that there were a few venues towards his location where the public had the opportunity to watch the games from far. Without giving a second thought, we just rushed to those venues. Thankfully it was on a weekend where I was accompanied by my husband and it became much easier to scout new routes and especially train routes! Even that day we had to adjust to the scorching heat but who would miss such a golden opportunity in life when we could watch Olympic sports events and that too without a ticket! So one of the venues was at Ariake and the other was Odaiba. First we targeted Ariake. We got down at the Ariake tennis no mori station. We got to know that, the area was earlier clubbed with many small tennis courts that almost turned it into a land of tennis and so from which it got its name literally meaning a ‘Forest of Tennis’ (No Mori). While we were already arriving by train enjoying the beautiful tall skyscrapers, we already got the wonderful glimpse of the Olympic Event and it was the sport of BMX cycling that was going on live that day. The venue seemed thinly crowded with athletes, various media channels and officials of the Olympics. No members of public were allowed to even go near the venue and we watched the event from the station itself. Gladly, it was fairly visible and it was the most incredible experience of watching the cycling stunts of the amazing athletes of the world.

BMX Cycling event, Ariake (Photo: AHM)

Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach other venues on time as the sports events started as early as 7:30 a.m. in the morning and since it takes one hour from our place it was difficult to reach. However later we joined our friend, who was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of the entire event from beginning to end. So, it was the Triathlon Mixed Event, where first an athlete swims, then cycles and then runs. On our way back home, we also got the glimpse of the Team Great Britain’s hall where volunteers and officials of Great Britain were halting. However, in both sports, India wasn’t represented but we just enjoyed having the raw glimpses of the whole event for the first time in our lives.

Well! We really had an incredible experience in Japan this time and thanks to our recent move to Tokyo where we had all the opportunity to get the feel of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (2021). Amidst all the chaos and pandemic sores, Japan managed to run the Olympics through thick and thin. This was India’s best ever performance in the Olympics and as an Assamese, Tokyo Olympics will remain even more special for me as Assam’s daughter Lovelina made us proud with her performance and the medal. My best wishes to the Indian contingent especially the winners who have made us proud. Joi Aai Axom

::x::x::x:: [ Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in our Blog are those of the author(s) / poet(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Publisher. ]


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