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The Nippon Foundation Para Arena Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary

The Nippon Foundation Para Arena celebrated its first anniversary on June 1. This article summarizes the first year of the Para Arena in addition to providing a time-lapse video that shows the construction of this gymnasium dedicated to para sports.

The opening ceremony of the Nippon Foundation Para Arena, which was held in June 2018, was attended by Paralympic sports organizations, para athletes and Yoshiro Mori (President of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) as well as Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. The expectations held toward the construction of a gymnasium dedicated to para sports could be felt in the air on this first day.

One year has passed since then. In time with the first anniversary, special sofas that make communication between wheelchair users and able-bodied persons easier were installed in the arena.

A news release related to the specially designed sofas can be found here (in Japanese only)

Which Sports Organizations Utilize the Arena?

Over the past year, the arena was used by the sports organizations of the following 10 para sports.

  • •Wheelchair basketball
  • •Wheelchair fencing
  • •Wheelchair rugby
  • •Goalball
  • •Football 5-a-side
  • •Sitting volleyball
  • •Table tennis
  • •Taekwondo
  • •Powerlifting
  • •Boccia

Athletes from the following five para sports also used the arena for personal training: canoe, wheelchair tennis, rowing, athletics and Nordic skiing.

Does the Arena Also Host Training Camps for the Japan National Team?

The sports organizations for wheelchair basketball (women, U25), wheelchair rugby, table tennis, powerlifting and boccia held training camps for Japan national team members here at the arena.

The Past Year of the Para Arena as Seen Through Numbers

The number of visitors to the Para Arena was as follows!

  • •Those who used the arena facilities for training: 8,843 people
  • •Those who participated in events here: 3,307 people
  • •Those who came here to tour the facilities: 852 people

The number of times reports on the Para Arena appeared was as follows!

  • •Television: 8 reports
  • •Newspapers: 56 reports
  • •Magazines: 9 reports
  • •Web-based reports: 214

* All figures above cover the period between June 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019

Not only was the Para Arena used by Paralympic sports organizations, there were also many inspection tours by local governments that were trying to build similar facilities in their area. The strong interest in universal design was readily apparent.

The arena also offers Asuchalle! Field Day as a program to be incorporated into school excursions. There is stronger demand for it as a perfect opportunity for students across Japan to learn about inclusiveness in society and creative ingenuity to promote communication through para sports.

Looking back on the past year, a Parasapo staff member in charge of the Para Arena said, “The arena’s operating rate is better than expected. I’m really happy to see that athletes are able to engage in enriched training here” (Kaneko). Another such staff member said, “We are also able to provide a para sports experience to students who are in Tokyo on school excursions, and it is good to see them enjoying themselves through the experience” (Yamaguchi).

A Summary of Events Sponsored by Parasapo at the Arena Over the Past Year!

A ceremony to mark donations of the proceeds from the charity song “Ameagari no Step” that supports para sports was held on July 8, 2018.

The Para Arena was opened to the general public on August 25, 2018, in commemoration of the start of the two year countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“2 Years to Go Until Tokyo 2020! Para-Athletes and Shingo Katori Show Up for the Event”

On October 14, 2018, wheelchair-basketball-legend and gold medalist Patrick Anderson visited the Para Arena and gave the Paralympian Lesson.
“Paralympian Lesson by Patrick Anderson -Wheelchair Basketball- (Part I)”

In November 2018, the Challnge for Tomorrow Diversity Seminor, Asuchalle! Academy was specially opened to the general public and held at Para Arena. There are plans to continue holding this event on an irregular basis.

In December 2018, a media briefing and special lecture was held in commemoration of the first anniversary of Parasports Messenger.
Check the Report; “Parasports Messengers, Out to Bring Change: Speech Training & Lectures Received with Great Acclaim”

The Asuchalle! Field Day Japan Champion Tournament was held on March 17, 2019.
Winning teams from seven blocks competed to see who would become the Japan Champion.
From “Asuchalle! Field Day Japan Champion Tournament: Crowning the Strongest Parasport Team in Japan”

There is only about one year left until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Nippon Foundation Para Arena will continue moving forward with the aim of becoming a facility that will be loved even more, not only by para athletes and people from Paralympic sports organizations but also the general public. We look forward to seeing everyone’s further support!

text by Parasapo

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