Para sport development has received a boost in Asia thanks to the two ‘Road to Tokyo 2020’ workshops held by the Agitos Foundation, in collaboration with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and funded by the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC).
These development activities aim at developing human resources and expertise in the field of Paralympic sports, increasing the capacity and sport technical knowledge of National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), and raising awareness of the Paralympic Movement across Asia in the lead-up to the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Two workshops took place in 2019 and 2020. The third one was scheduled for earlier this year but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The funds (around EUR 100,000) were instead utilised to support classification opportunities for Tokyo 2020.
The ‘Road to Tokyo 2020’ series received the support of World Archery, Badminton World Federation, International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Judo, World Para Powerlifting, World Para Swimming, International Table Tennis Federation and World Taekwondo.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board Member and Agitos Foundation Executive Committee Chairperson Rita Van Driel said: “I want to send my gratitude to the Japanese Paralympic Committee, Tokyo 2020 and all IFs and NPCs involved for helping make these workshops a success.
“Improving coaching and Para sport management across Asia is fundamental in order to maximise the impact of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and therefore create a lasting legacy in the region.”
Tokyo 2020 Chief Operating Officer Yukihko Nunomura said: ”I must mention our deep sense of appreciation for the Agitos Foundation, International Federations and Japanese Paralympic Committee for their guidance and support. We are proud to be able to stage such a great opportunity for Asia to further develop and raise the bar of the Paralympic sports and Paralympic Movement through the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
The first of the ‘Road to Tokyo 2020’ workshops took place between 20 and 22 November 2019, with 42 coaches from 16 Asian countries attending Para archery, judo, Para powerlifting and Para taekwondo coaching courses at the University of Tsukuba, one of the most prestigious in Japan.
Participants came from Bhutan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Tajikistan, Yemen, Vietnam and hosts Japan. Courses were led by educators Chakir Chelbat and Usman Dildar (Para taekwondo), Dan Kent (Para powerlifting), Ian Johns (judo), Vincent Hybois and Martin Rogers (Para archery).
The following educational courses were held in Nagoya, Japan, from 25-27 February 2020, and focused on Para badminton, Para table tennis and Para swimming. A total of 40 administrators and coaches from 16 NPCs attended: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
Van Driel added: “The ‘Road to Games’ has been one of our core development programmes since 2015 and we are happy to witness how it continues to ensure the expansion and growth of the Paralympic Movement into new territories.”