POSTED: September 12th 2012
Tokyo 2020: Japanese Paralympians pledge support after highly successful Games in London
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
September 13 – After a highly successful experience at the London Paralympics Japanese Paralympians came home with renewed enthusiasm about the Tokyo 2020 bid.
The Paralympics were broadcast in prime time on Japanese television inspiring a following at home in support of the Games. The bid plans to showcase the Paralympics theme of overcoming adversity in their campaign.
Masato Mizuno, bid ceo and Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) Vice President, said, "The 12-day London Paralympic Games were a huge success and we enjoyed every moment. The level of competition that our athletes displayed was truly inspiring.
“We are more enthusiastic than ever about bringing the Games to Tokyo in 2020.
“The London Games have raised the bar for the Olympic Movement, so Tokyo will spare no effort in reaching for an even higher level of achievement."
Two Paralympians spoke out on behalf of the bid:
Shingo Kunieda, men's single wheelchair tennis gold medallist, said: "As an athlete, it really felt great to be out there since the atmosphere was simply amazing throughout the competition. The Paralympics is gradually gaining more popularity in Japan, and I'm positive excitement will permeate our entire country if we were to host the Games in the future. If Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympics, it will be great as the city will become more barrier-free and the awareness level of the sports for the disabled will increase dramatically. Hosting the Games will be beneficial for everyone."
Wakako Tsuchida, who sealed 5th place in the women's marathon (T54), said: "Although I fell during the marathon, I never gave up. I wasn't able to produce the best results, but it meant a lot to me to finish the race, as so many people including my family gave me so much support up to the Games. I am positive Tokyo will become more barrier free if it were to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and it will be a good occasion for everyone including children to get to know about the Paralympics more. I definitely would like to see Tokyo host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Overall the Paralympics gathered 4,280 athletes from 164 countries competed at the events. A record 2.7 million tickets were sold and an estimated 4 billion people tuned in to the competitions broadcasts.
Japan set some new benchmarks at these Games winning the first ever team gold in goalball and Shingo Kunieda became the first Paralympian to win consecutive gold medals in men's singles wheelchair tennis. The team won 16 medals in 17 events creating a resounding success.
Tokyo’s bid features the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's initiatives to build a barrier-free city and the team is working closely with the Japanese Paralympic Committee to ensure that the plan maximises convenience, accessibility and comfort for all athletes and spectators alike.
The 2020 bid race comprises three cities Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The final vote will take place in less than one year at the Buenos Aires IOC session on September 7, 2013.
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