Two Japanese Paralympians took the rostrum at the Asian Athletes Forum 2011, hosted by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) in Tokyo on 12 July, and spoke their experiences and messages to more than 200 participants.
The theme of the event, which was initiated by JOC Athletes Commission and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Athletes Committee, was “the impact of Sports on society”. More than 200 participants attended the various presentations by speakers from Japan and from abroad, who shared their experience regarding the role and impact of sports on society.
The forum consisted of presentations/lectures and displays, which included a report on the OCA Athletes Committee’s Research results, displays of a tennis wheelchair and a sit-ski and an anti-doping outreach booth provided by Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA). Presenters included amongst others Mr. Frank Fredericks, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes Committee and Paralympians Ms. Aki Taguchi and Ms. Mami Sato.
Aki Taguchi, who participated in two Paralympic Games in Athens and Beijing shared her personal story with the participants, how she encountered her impairment at the age of 25, then her life with the sport of Shooting and how she made her way to the Paralympic Games.
Mami Sato calls herself as one of the persons “saved by sports.” She shared her experience on the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11th of March, including the sudden changes of her life because of her own family being a disaster victim and her activity as a Paralympian to support children in the affected area. Sato showed her commitment by saying “Sports can enrich the quality of life. By playing sports, we have many chances to feel unity and connection with the people and society, which give us power. I will continue to speak on the value of sports as a drive to live strong, and wish other athletes also have the similar opportunities to share their experiences as athletes with the general public so that Japanese athletes could contribute to the society.”
For more information on the Japanese Paralympic Committee, please visit http://www.jsad.or.jp/.