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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 May 13 - 19  > Meeting held for development of sports for disabled
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2015 May 13 - 19 [WELFARE]

Meeting held for development of sports for disabled

May 17 & 18, 2015
A panel discussion focusing on the topic of sports development for the disabled took place on May 16 in Tokyo, with the 2020 Paralympics to be held in Tokyo. Persons with disabilities, their families, and citizens engaged in protecting the rights of persons with disabilities listened earnestly to the three panelists.

Shioya Fubuki works to spot talented persons and foster young athletes with physical challenges in athletic sports. He complained about a shortage of escorts/guide runners and coaches. Pointing to the limited opportunities for disabled athletes to take part in track and field meets, he said, “There are only three or four official competitions a year. I want my athletes to improve their performance in regular competitions, but most of the time they are not allowed to participate as official competitors and their results are excluded from official records. Some blind persons have a problem bringing their training equipment to some facilities.” Shioya stressed the importance of establishing more barrier-free sports centers so that persons with and without disabilities can both exercise and practice at the same facilities.

Takayama Hirohisa who is in charge of regional sports promotion for disabled persons said, “The type and the degree of each person’s disability range widely. Many of them need easier access to facilities to continue to enjoy sports in their community.”

Ichihashi Hiroshi is a co-leader of a disability rights organization. He criticized many facilities for having very limitted space for persons with disabilities to enjoy watching sports and athletic events. “Under the International Paralympic Committee-set standards, 0.5% of spectators’ seats should be designated for those with wheelchairs. The Tokyo Dome should have been equipped with 200 seating spaces for persons in wheelchairs. In fact, it only has 12 seats of that kind.” Most people in wheelchairs wish to watch sporting events from different locations but many stadiums in Japan allocate only one location for wheelchair seating, he said.

Noting that a survey on sporting activities for the disabled show that more than half the respondents stated that they want to enjoy sports if possible, Ichihashi said, “It’s important to ensure access to sports activities for all disabled persons who wish to participate. To build more barrier-free and accessible sports facilities in communities is also important.”

From the floor, an athletic sports coach for children with autism said “I want to coach these children more, but I can’t make a living by doing this only.” An athlete said, “Prosthetics and wheelchairs for track athletes are too expensive because these of the limited amount of government grants.”
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