Five hundred excited spectators gathered Saturday at one of Japan’s rare public viewing sites in Shizuoka prefecture to watch the men’s road cycling race.
“Tokyo was chosen to host the Olympics. Even though the Games were delayed a year and are being held in very tough circumstances without spectators, as a Japanese person I feel proud the Games are happening,” Joji Matsubara, a Shizuoka resident and local spectator, told CNN.
Matsubara, who said he was lucky to get a ticket to the public viewing event, out of 2,000 other applicants, said he had been looking forward to watching the road race.
The race sees athletes begin at Tokyo’s Musashinonomori Park, cycle through Kanagawa and Yamanashi prefectures and make their way to the finish line on the Fuji International Speedway in Oyama in Shizuoka prefecture, which is around 2 hours from Tokyo.
The Fuji Speedway is allowing 10,000 ticket holders to witness the last leg of the road race in a venue that usually seats more than 20,000 people.
The public viewing site in Oyama city allows spectators to watch the road cycling race on a screen, enjoy a small bouldering wall and is one of the few events open to the public in Japan.
Currently, spectators will be able to attend less than 12% of Olympic venues during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.
Just five of the 42 total Olympic venues across Japan will be open to fans. Tokyo is home to 25 of the venues, with the rest in seven prefectures.
Tokyo venues and four prefectures — Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Fukushima — will not have spectators at Olympic competition venues.
Miyagi, Ibaraki and Shizuoka prefectures with a total of five venues can be filled to 50% of capacity with a maximum of 10,000 spectators.
In Shizuoka prefecture, only three locations are organizing public viewing sites for the road cycling race.
“We had wanted to invite more people to see Shizuoka and see the road race, but we had to turn down many applicants due to the pandemic and keep this a very local event,” Rie Watanabe, an official from Oyama in Shizuoka prefecture, told CNN.