Tokyo Olympics: Japanese superfan who spent £30,000 on tickets ‘heartbroken’ at ban on spectators

An Olympics superfan who spent £30,000 on tickets to the Games has said it “breaks his heart” that spectators were banned due to COVID-19.

Kazunori Takishima has spent the last 15 years traveling the world to support Japan at every Olympic Games – and had dreamt of seeing the event live in his home city of Tokyo.

He had purchased 197 tickets to try to see as many events as possible during the Games, which opened today.

“What hurts the most is the time and passion I poured into securing these tickets, not the money,” he told Sky News.

“And it breaks my heart that we cannot watch the Games live in person.”

If the 45-year-old real estate businessman had watched all the events he had booked, he would have broken the Guinness World Record for attendance at Olympic events.

Asked if he will try again at the next Games, he said: “I’ll be going to the Olympics until I die, so I’ll be breaking the record every time.”

He will now get a refund on the tickets he purchased.

When he heard the news that spectators would not be allowed at the games, he said it was like finding out your girlfriend is in a plane accident.

“It just doesn’t feel like reality,” he said. “It’ll probably sink in when I hear the sound of the opening ceremony.”

Mr Takishima initially had no interest in sports when he saw his first Olympics in the winter of 2006.

But when he saw Japanese figure skater Shizuka Arakawa win a gold medal in person, he was hooked.

“The special energy that filled the stadium really had me and I fell in love,” he said.

He admires the dedication of the athletes, and said seeing them crying with joy or regret inspires him to work harder.

“I’ve experienced the liveliness and the touching moments which can only be felt in person,” he said. “It’s not the same watching it on TV.

“Nothing is comparable to watching it live at the venue.”

Mr Takashima even had a special outfit ready for the Games but said he is not sure if he will wear it.

“If I was to dress like this alone at home, it would be a bit awkward,” he said. “I’d like to at least wear the headband though.”

He has been thinking about holding a public viewing at the hotel he owns but is worried about potential backlash given the controversy surrounding the Games.

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