Japan's National Stadium opened on Saturday with legendary athlete Usain Bolt present at the star-studded opening ceremony titled 'Hello, Our Stadium', which saw a crowd of 59,500. The National Stadium will be hosting the opening ceremony, closing ceremony and the athletics events at the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics.
Bolt was joined on the track by a host of famous athletes, including Rai Benjamin (American Hurdler), Sophie Kamlish (British Paralympian), Mujinga Kambundji (Swiss Sprinter), Marlou van Rhijn (Dutch Paralympian), Jarryd Wallace (USA Paralympian), Raymond Martin (USA Paralympian), Hannah Cockroft (British Paralympian) and Jonnie Peacock (British Paralympian).
Eight-time Olympic Champion retired from athletics in 2017, a year after winning the 100m and 200m singles in Rio 2016 Olympics. He shared the video of himself running on the tracks and jokingly said, "Well I can’t say I didn’t run in the Tokyo Olympic Stadium."
"It was a great experience being here running in front of so many people... I was happy because I won't be getting to compete in the Olympics," Bolt told reporters afterwards.
He roundly rejected any thoughts of a comeback, saying: "Am I coming back to running? No." "I'm actually in pain right now from the little run I did," he joked, adding that he was looking forward to attending the Games as a fan for the first time.
From Japan, female sprinters Anna Doi, Chisato Fukushima (two-time Asian Games champion) and Kana Ichikawa participated along with their men's counterparts Yoshihide Kiryu (Rio 2016 relay silver), Aska Cambridge (Rio 2016 relay silver), Shuhei Tada, Yuki Koike and Shota Iizuka (Rio 2016 relay silver). Alpine skier Momoka Muraoka, long jumper Saki Takakuwa, and sprinter Syunsuke Itani were also among the Paralympic stars in attendance.
Located in the heart of the Japanese capital, the stadium is built on the same premises as the old National Stadium, which hosted the city's previous Olympic Games - Tokyo 1964.
Construction on the stadium began in December 2016 and was completed on 30 November.
(With inputs from PTI)