Para-Sports Hands-on Experience Event at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit—Joined by G7 Leader First Ladies.
As part of a G7 Ise-Shima Summit related program, a hands-on event in which children had an opportunity to experience para-sports was held on May 27 at the International Media Center. Japan’s First Lady Mrs.Akie Abe , Canada’s First Lady Mrs.Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and European Council’s First Lady Mrs.Małgorzata Tusk, who accompanied their spouses in Ise-Shima for the Summit, visited the event to interact with children and para-athletes.
The event was hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the backing of The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center. The Center cooperated by planning the content of the hands-on experience. From fourth to the sixth grad students from Sigou Elementary School and Nagoya International School took part in the event. The 73 children experienced five para-sports: football 5-a-side (Blind soccer), wheelchair basketball, boccia, cycling and athletics.
Para-athletes being one-day coach
The children challenged warm-ups within eye mask on. They worked in teams of two, with one child wearing an eye mask and the other gibing verbal directions, to follow the exercises that para-athelets were of them performing in front. . They later split up into eight teams to experience the five para-sports.
Enjoying boccia with top athletes
Trying out a handcycle
In the boccia experience corner, Takayuki Hirose and Hidetaka Sugimura, nominated to represent Japan in the Rio Paralympic Games, taught children the rules while enjoying playing boccia with them. Meanwhile, the opotunity to experience special para-sports vehides such as wheelchairs for racing , tandem bikes and handcycles for cycling was provied. The children experienced maneuvering the racing wheelchairs and bicycles and while checking out the readings on speed indicators.
In wheelchair basketball, Shinji Negi played mini-games with children on sport wheelchairs. Negi was captain of the sport’s Japan national team at the Sydney Paralympic Games.He is currently project director of the Paralympic Support Center, and working for Asuchalle School ” Challenge for Tomorrow”project.
During the event, Japan’s First Lady Mrs. Abe and two two other wives FisrtLadies visited the venue, shaking hands with athletes and children. At the field where the football 5-a-side experience was being held, they met para-athlete Shigeo Yoshihara. Yoshihara represented Japan at four Paralympic Games in the sports of athletics and cycling and is currently a 5-a-side athlete. Mrs. Trudeau, Mrs. Tusk and Mrs. Abe each tried kicking a football while wearing an eye mask, the children gave a laoud ud cheering.
Comments from the children after the event included the following. “I didn’t know anything about para-sports before, but it was a lot of fun to try them out. I was really surprised to see how good the athletes were.” “I got to meet the ‘first ladies’ and the whole event was great, it was an once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.”
Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Abe, trying out 5-a-side football
Everyone had a blast in the wheelchair basketball mini game
text by Katsuhiro Motoyama
photo by Parasapo