“Shooting gave me the power to fight for myself. I would like others to know about the wonderful sport that gave me the power to fight for myself, and I would like to attract more people to the sport."
One week on from the 2018 World Shooting Para Sport Championships, the sport’s international federation has announced that Aki Taguchi has been appointed athlete liaison.
Japan’s three-time Paralympian will serve a four-year term (2018-2021) on the Sport Technical Committee (STC). She will act as liaison between the athletes and the World Shooting Para Sport Management Team, representing the views, interests and rights of the athletes.
Taguchi said: “I became a wheelchair user with spinal cord disease at the age of 25. I began shooting after onset, and by starting shooting, I had a goal. And by having a goal, I was able to make efforts and move forward in my life.
“Shooting gave me the power to fight for myself. I would like others to know about the wonderful sport that gave me the power to fight for myself, and I would like to attract more people to the sport. I will bring the voices of athletes performing at competitions to the officers and management side firmly. I would like to devote my efforts to the development of shooting Para sport through them.”
Taguchi will take over from New Zealand’s Michael Johnson.
While in Choengju, South Korea, where the 2018 World Championships took place from 4-11 May, Johnson passed on some helpful tips to Taguchi.
“I think the best advice I would give to Aki is to just be herself,” Johnson said. “Everyone loves her, and she is so friendly and so nice that I just know she will get on really well with the STC.
“[During my term], I learned that everyone is so individual, and everyone is so different. Everyone’s needs are different, so what works for someone might not work for someone else. I also learned that the STC really want us to work with them. So there is a good bond with them, and we can help them help us.”
Taguchi, 47, competed at the London 2012, Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. She is also currently a member of the Athlete Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
“At the Tokyo 2020 Games, I would like to make an environment not only for shooting athletes, but also all athletes so that they can realise their potential ability and set their personal bests.
“For that purpose, we, Para athletes, need to raise our voices. As an athlete representative, I hope to make full use of my experience. I would like to focus on improving the environment for all athletes and to improve the environment to protect the athletes' rights on cases of competition relations.”