Trying out Paralympic Sports in Tokyo


Trying out Paralympic Sports in Tokyo

In a bid to help people experience some of the sports at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games and build hype for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, certain events were organized in Tokyo to reflect on the significance of the games which were just held.

The next Summer Paralympics (just four years from now) is set to take place in Tokyo in 2020. Efforts aimed at deepening understanding through hands-on experience with the sports are already being put in place by the local governments where these Paralympic sports will be hosted.

Thought is being put into how these events can be effectively publicized in anticipation of the Tokyo Paralympics.

At a recent event held in Tokyo on August 30, people who are not disabled were blindfolded so they could try out blind soccer.  During intense moments, others were heard giving instructions to guide them by shouting things like “kick there,” “to the right” and “a little more to the right.” At one point, the position of the ball became unclear which flustered a player. But when they followed instructions, then were they able to reclaim the ball, bringing resounding applause in the crowd.

In this sport, a soccer ball with small bells in it is provided for visually impaired people to play. It is the sound of those bells, as well as the oral instructions passed on by a “caller” (i.e. the guide) that enable players to correctly determine the location of the ball and the goal. The event which was organized by a Tokyo-based nonprofit organization, Japan Blind Football Association is held about once a week.

According to a 23-year-old participant, the importance of communication is indisputable. While considering the position the other person is in, the company employee said that she felt she understood how difficult this could be for visually impaired people.

It is hoped that the event will make people understand the importance of putting themselves in the shoes of other people in their daily life, according to an official of the association.

A recent survey which targeted about 1,900 people living in Tokyo was conducted by the metropolitan government in 2014. It shockingly revealed how only 2 percent of its respondents were likely to watch a sports event meant for disabled people in a gymnasium or elsewhere.

These experiences and the coming Tokyo 2020 Paralympics offer an excellent chance for people to not only deepen their understanding of disability but also learn how interesting Paralympic matches are.

Source: The Japan News

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