POSTED: Tuesday October 9th 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Health and Sports Day Showcases Japan's Passion for Sport and Olympism
Tokyo, 9 October 2012 - Japan and its capital enjoyed a weekend of sport in celebration of Health and Sports Day, or Taiiku no hi. The public holiday, one of Japan's most popular, was observed on Monday, 8 October. Japan is the unique country to have such a public holiday recognising the importance of health and sport. Health and Sports Day, first observed in 1966, exactly two years after the Tokyo 1964 Games Opening Ceremony, is a tangible example of the country's passion for sport and the Olympic Values - excellence, respect and friendship - values that Japanese people truly live and share.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and numerous National Federations organised a large sports festival, bringing together athletes and the public at the Ajinomoto National Training Center and etc. More than 10,000 children and adults had the chance to meet 77 Olympians, Paralympians and athletes from both the summer and winter Olympic Games.
On Saturday, 6 October, a tree-planting ceremony was held on the Sea Forest Island. Now in a development phase, once complete the Sea Forest will reconnect Tokyo with the sea. The man-made island is included in the Tokyo 2020 plan as a proposed location for Rowing, Canoe-Kayak(sprint), Equestrian (cross-country), Sailing, Golf and Cycling (mountain bike). Thanks to tree-planting activities like the one this weekend, officials estimate that an 88-hectare forest will be complete in the near future.
The Sea Forest Island event brought together many kids, three London 2012 Games medallists and Tokyo 2020 executive board member and world renowned architect Tadao Ando, with all of them enjoying the day with a tree planting ceremony. The London 2012 Games medallists consisted of 3-time wrestling Olympic gold medallist Kaori Icho, women's 100m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay bronze medallist Aya Terakawa and men's 60kg Greco-Roman wrestling bronze medallist Ryutaro Matsumoto. At the event, Icho said: "Let's grow many trees at this planned Tokyo 2020 venue, the Sea Forest!" Terakawa added: "I really would love for everyone to experience the excitement and inspiration that the Olympics will give us."
Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC member and President of the Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee and the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), said: "Tokyo 1964 Games left a great legacy to Japan and Japanese people, and the Health and Sports Day is part of it. This day promotes sports and an active lifestyle to young people. That's why we want to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games again in Japan, to inspire a new generation with the Olympic Values and build a new legacy for the next 50 years."
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Name: Masa Takaya
Organization: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bid
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