POSTED: Thursday August 9th 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A Trip to London for the Olympic Games Inspires Sports-loving Youth from Northeast Japan
London, 9 August 2012 - Twenty teenagers from the tsunami-affected area of Japan spent a dream week at the London 2012 Olympic Games, taking part in a variety of sports both as spectators and participants. Led by Sydney 2000 Games swimming silver and bronze medallist Mai Nakumura, the students were hosted by the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC).
During the eight-day tour (1 August - 8 August), the youth enjoyed an active schedule, including the opportunity to watch Athletics, Table Tennis, Hockey, Football and Triathlon competitions. Aware of the power of the Olympic Movement to heal, unite and inspire, the JOC chose this group students from the Tohuku region, the area of northeast Japan most affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Misaki Nakano, a 13-year-old volleyball player, commented: "I will always remember being able to see famous athletes at the Olympic venues, including members of the Nadeshiko Japan [women's soccer team] and Usain Bolt. I really had fun sharing these experiences with the others. I also learned many things from this trip, which I want to share with my friends back in Japan."
The JOC is hopeful that the experience in London will encourage the teenagers to look to the future and return to Japan with stories about the fun and excitement of the Olympic Games.
Ryo Yaegashi, a basketball player who turned 15 while in London, said: "When I return to Japan, there are lots of things I want to talk about. The sports we watched and the sports we did were really inspiring, and help me focus on the future."
On 4 August, a cultural exchange between the Tohoku youths and Japanese students of Rikkyo School in England took place at Japan House, a facility organised during the London Games to showcase Japanese culture. After the students spent time getting to know one another, they walked near Hyde Park to watch the cycling leg of the Women's Triathlon competition.
The teenagers also enjoyed an Olympic Day Festa at London's Ladywell Gymnastic Club. During the event on 3 August, they participated in gymnastics, relay races and an obstacle course alongside British students. Later, the Japanese youth taught their new friends the art of traditional Japanese calligraphy.
Yaegishi added: "I really enjoyed hanging out with the British kids. The atmosphere was great and I will never forget this incredible experience. The obstacle relay matches were really fun, especially with everyone cheering loudly for each other."
Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member, and President of the JOC and Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee, said: "I'm delighted we were able to invite them to London. Both the Japanese Olympic Committee and the Olympic Games, the world's greatest celebration of sport, share the important goal of inspiring youth. The children witnessed first-hand the power of sports and the Olympic Values of friendship, excellence and respect. I hope that they had great time and that our effort played a part of a healing process letting the young stars discover tomorrow."
Note for Editors: Olympic Day Festas are full-day events consisting of sport,
activities and games organised under the "Ganbare Nippon" (Hang in there, Japan) project, which the JOC started in Japan last year to encourage and support children affected by the earthquake and tsunami. To date, numerous festas hosted by Olympians and other athletes have been organised in the quake-affected prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Director, President's Office
Phone: +81 3 3481 2286 / Email: email@example.com
Communications Manager, President's Office
Mobile: +81 80 1355 9110 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Japanese Olympic Committee:
The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) is the National Olympic Committee for
Japan, and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the sole governing body responsible for promoting the Olympic Movement in Japan.
Constituted in accordance with the Olympic Charter and the ideals of Olympism, the objectives of the JOC are to contribute to the promotion of sport by providing continuous support to the Olympic Movement, to promote world peace and international goodwill, and to further the development of sport and athletes in Japan.
The JOC is a public interest incorporated foundation that develops sporting strategies in cooperation with other national sporting bodies, conducts high performance athlete programmes, selects teams and raises funds to send Japanese athletes to such international events as the Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, Asian Games and Universiade. Established in 1911, the JOC celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. Two-time Olympian in equestrian Tsunekazu Takeda serves as president.
# # #
Name: Masa Takaya
Organization: Japanese Olympic Committee
Please refer all questions to the company listed above issuing the press release. SFC will not be able to assist you with any inquiries and disclaims any content in these press releases.