Vissel Kobe take first gold in Tokyo's Olympic Stadium
Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium enjoyed its first taste of gold as Vissel Kobe triumphed in its first official sporting event.
Spain and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta became the first man to lift a trophy for the club as they triumphed 2-0 over Kashima Antlers in the Emperor’s Cup final. It meant the likes of FIFA World Cup™ winners David Villa, Lukas Podolski and Iniesta were among the first athletes to see a gold medal draped around the neck ahead of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The 68,000-seater stadium is set to be a striking central feature of the games when the women's and men's football tournament get underway next year.
Its blend of native wood and local plants intends to present a natural feel in the heart of the Japanese metropolis. With almost 50,000 small and medium-sized trees planted within its grounds and a part-wooden roof, architect Kengo Kuma described his vision for it as a “living tree”.
While fans will be able to enjoy the ‘Grove in the sky’ viewing floor, whose plant-lined walkways wrap around the outside of the stadium, the structure itself will also be fuelled by the natural world. Solar cells have been integrated into the roof, while rain and well water will be used to irrigate the pitch and plant life in the stadium.
Construction took just under three years to complete, costing 156.9 billion yen (1.4 billion USD), needing more than 1.5 million people over the course of its development. Further test events are due to take place ahead of its central role in the calendar's biggest sporting event.
Andres Iniesta #8 holds the trophy aloft during the trophy
TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 01: Andres Iniesta #8 holds the trophy aloft during the trophy presentation of the 99th Emperor's Cup final between Vissel Kobe and Kashima Antlers at the National Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Tokyo's National Stadium
TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 01: A general view prior to the start of the 99th Emperor's Cup final between Vissel Kobe and Kashima Antlers at the National Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)