“I’ve learnt how interesting and exciting it is to watch the game itself and at the same time learnt about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes."
Behind the scenes Rio 2016 also offered a look into the future at the next Paralympic Games – Tokyo 2020. International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) President Ulf Mehrens met with Toshiro Muto, the Chief Executive of Tokyo 2020.
The IWBF spoke with Mr. Toshiro Muto about collaboration, his hopes and expectations for Tokyo and whether Rio 2016 has inspired him.
Chief Executive Mr Muto was in Rio for the whole of the Paralympic Games. As indeed a lot needs to be absorbed and discussed for the next Paralympic Games which take place in Tokyo 2020. On a site visit to the wheelchair basketball venue he spent a little time with the IWBF explaining what we have to look forward to in Tokyo 2020.
Mr Muto explained, “I’ve been very impressed by the Paralympic Games especially the wheelchair basketball event and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to take a look at the back of house aspect before watching a wheelchair basketball game.
“I’ve learnt how interesting and exciting it is to watch the game itself and at the same time learnt about all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, whether it is in the preparation or the little things that are implemented in order to make the games work. So having learnt both aspects I have really come to experience the breadth and depth of work required behind the scenes as far as the Paralympic Games are concerned which certainly has excited me.”
As well as a behind the scenes tour of the wheelchair basketball venue, the Tokyo 2020 delegation including Mr Muto met with representatives of IWBF to discuss plans for the wheelchair basketball event at Tokyo.
Mr Muto said, “I am really glad to be able to have had a meeting with IWBF president Ulf Mehrens and IWBF Secretary General Maureen Orchard. It certainly gave me a number ideas and images as to how to really build up the momentum for wheelchair basketball in Tokyo. The meeting also allowed us to be able to start to exchange and discuss opinions going forward.”
Mr Muto’s hopes for the Paralympics in Japan are to find the means to ensure that all the seats are full for the wheelchair basketball events.
He said, “Having had a look at the games here I know that wheelchair basketball is as exciting and interesting as the able-bodied basketball. So I want to convey the excitement and the fun and interesting aspects of the wheelchair basketball at the Paralympics Games to the people of Tokyo and Japan so that they will come and fill the seats in the stadium.”
President Ulf Mehrens also appreciated the meeting, adding: “It was a great opportunity to be able to meet the team from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, especially the Chief Executive Mr Toshiro Muto. This provided us a chance to begin a close working relationship with them which will help ensure that wheelchair basketball at Tokyo is managed and showcased in the optimum manner to realise our shared aspirations.”