The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) on Friday (25 August) co-hosted a “3 Years to Go to the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020” event, to mark three years until the Opening Ceremony of the Games. The event was held in conjunction with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Paralympic Committee at a scenic waterfront deck venue in Toyosu, overlooking Tokyo Bay.
The programme kicked off with greetings by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and Minister in Charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Shunichi Suzuki. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto also attended, and Sir Philip Craven, President of the IPC, delivered a congratulatory message to everyone by video. Around 3,000 people stopped by to see the event.
Tokyo 2020 used the event to highlight its commitment to deliver a fully inclusive Games. It included some amazing performances by Paralympic athletes, including Kento Kato, a leading member of the Japanese Football 5-a-side team, who wowed everyone with his talent, scoring an incredible goal in front of the huge crowd. Hiroshi Miura, a two-time Paralympian in powerlifting, was challenged by the event organisers to see how many times he could lift a 100 kg barbell. With the crowd cheering him on, he managed to lift it 12 times.
Muto commented, “I feel the weight of expectation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games from all those who attended today’s event. Also, the Paralympians’ powerful demonstrations allowed us to appreciate their amazing abilities.”
He added “Tokyo 2020’s mission is to provide a stage on which all athletes can deliver their personal best performance, and we are confident that everyone who watches or participates in the Paralympic Games will remember the Tokyo 2020 Games as the best in history. Beyond the Games themselves, our aim is to allow people of diverse abilities to live in harmony. And we believe that by improving accessibility for those with impairments, for the elderly and for those with young children, we can create a fully-inclusive community that provides all people with equal opportunity.”
Junichi Kawai, five-time gold medallist commented, “Paralympic sport is all about finding out what’s possible. Use your imagination and be honest to your feelings to find out what each athlete is capable of doing. That way, you can enjoy watching the Paralympic Games at their best, and that is the best part of it. Please come and see the Games in three years. I hope all of the venues will be filled with fans!”
There is already substantial interest in the Paralympic Games right across Japan, but Tokyo 2020 wants to raise public awareness of the need to improve accessibility and eliminate psychological barriers even further. A number of projects aimed at connecting people with the Games is being run, including the Tokyo 2020 Nationwide Participation Programme and the Tokyo 2020 “Yoi Don!” (“Get Set”) Nationwide Education Programme. The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre is additionally offering an IPC education programme entitled “I’m Possible” which is targeting to make Para sports more available in schools across Japan.