The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government jointly hosted a “Paralympic sport experience” event to celebrate 500 days to go until the Paralympic Games.
Japan’s Paralympic wheelchair rugby bronze medallist Daisuke Ikezaki, triathlete Jumpei Kimura and badminton player Sarina Satomi shared their passion by showcasing Para sports to kids and families who attended the scenic waterfront deck venue in Toyosu, overlooking Tokyo Bay.
Visitors also had the opportunity to take a photo of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Torch, unveiled in March. The Tokyo 2020 promotional bus, which recently toured the Paralympic competition venues, was also exhibited in the back of the stage.
Japanese actor Akiyoshi Nakao and actress Riisa Naka also participated in the stage programme, making their first public appearance together since getting married.
They tried out wheelchair rugby and were “tackled” by Ikezawa.
“I was honoured and enjoyed very much talking with the athletes. Paralympic sport is something which can be enjoyed together as a family, so I’ll continue to promote it,” Nakao said.
“With 500 days left, there’ll be lots of opportunity to watch Paralympic sports on television and elsewhere. Japan has some great athletes and teams! If we support them together with our friends and family, they’ll perform even better. Let’s create some real excitement for the Paralympics!”
Ikezaki added: “In the last year, we were able to win the wheelchair rugby World Championships. I have confidence in myself and in the team and we’ll definitely go for gold.”
Kimura competed in three Paralympic Games as a swimmer before switching to triathlon in 2013.
“This will be my fifth Games. Though I haven’t won a medal yet, this time I think I am ready and have confidence in my game plan. All that remains is to finish in a medal spot,” he said.
For Satomi, it will be the first time to compete at the Paralympics as badminton makes its debut.
“My first goal is to qualify for the Games. If I can achieve that, then I will absolutely be aiming for a gold medal.”