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【CenterNews】Music×Para Sports event “ParaFes2016” was held, 5000 people experienced an excited night

On November 22, The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center hosted a festival of sports and music at the Yoyogi National Stadium (First Gymnasium).

“ParaFes 2016” opened with a spectacular acrobatic performance by globally-active dancers carrying out amazing moves on crutches and prosthetic limbs. An audience of 5,000 people gathered, and enjoyed the three-hour-long festivities, which included performances by para-athletes and top musicians in support of the Paralympics.

In opening speech, lower house member Seiko Noda, who was the proposer of ParaFes 2016, said, “Many people think of the Paralympics as being something stiff and formal. I hope that this event will break this image, close the distance you may feel with Paralympians, and create life-long fans.” Yasushi Yamawaki, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, said, “I felt the excitement of the Brazilian people at the Rio Paralympics. Let’s show just as much excitement and have fun here today!”

Medalists from the Rio Paralympic Games were also present. It included Sae Tsuji, who won a Bronze medal in the Women’s 400 m (T47), and Daisuke Ikezaki, who was part of the Japan Wheelchair Rugby team that won a Bronze medal for the first time. They demonstrated the appeal of their sports. Meanwhile, comedians Hiroshi Tamura (of the ‘Kirin’ duo) and the Bambino duo tried their hand at para-sports and livened up the festivities.

Part Two featured blind singers and Sarah Alainn, followed by singer and songwriter Maki Ohguro. She said, “I made a comeback this year after suspending my activities due to an illness. I realized how important it is to have people who offer you support. All of you present today who have shared these moments with us are now part of the Paralympics family. Let’s unite and cheer our para-athletes on.” This was met with loud cheers from the audience. The evening closed with everyone present, including the audience, singing Ms. Ohguro’s LA.LA.LA.

Yoyogi National Gymnasium (used in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics ).

An audience of 5,000 people gathered for the special one-night-only show

Para-sport equipment were on display.

A life-size replica of the commemorative mural created by Shingo Katori (of the Japanese boy band SMAP) for the Paralympic Support Center was also on display.

The festivities opened with a colorful samba performance.

There was a performance by amputee break-dancer Tommy Ly and fellow b-boy Luca Patuelli, who uses crutches as extensions of his arms.

Taiko drummer Shuichi Hidano and guitarist Marty Friedman also performed at the festival.

Japanese House of Representatives lawmaker Seiko Noda, who was the proposer of ParaFes 2016, and Yasushi Yamawaki, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center, spoke of their feelings toward ParaFes 2016.

The emcees were DJ nico and freelance announcer Rio Hirai.

Comedians Hiroshi Tamura (of ‘Kirin’) and the Bambino duo energized the venue in their appearance as guests supporting ParaFes 2016.

The first para-sport demonstration was for wheelchair basketball, a popular event. Guest Paralympians Katsumi Miyake and Shinji Negi spoke about the appeal of the para-sport.

Projection mapping turned the floor into a basketball court where the pair captivated the audience with their adept passes and brilliant shots.

Rio Paralympics Bronze medalists Sae Tsuji, Tomoki Tagawa, Keita Sato and Hajimu Ashida appeared on stage.

Amputee sprinter Keita Sato showed how he changes from his everyday prosthetic leg to the blade he uses in athletics competition. He said, “The blade used in competition has a strong repulsion force. The spring it provides is utilized for running.”

An athletics demonstration was carried out on the virtual track. The runners used different sprint starts, such as Tagawa and Tsuji with their crouching 4 point start, Ashida with his 3 point start, and Sato, who placed his prosthesis behind him.

the participation of Daisuke Ikezaki, Tomoaki Imai, Kazuhiko Kanno and Masayuki Haga, who won a Bronze medal in Rio for wheelchair rugby.

A tackle of the force the wheelchair rugby, medalists gave a demonstration.

Part II began with a concert by blind musicians. Koshi Kishita played the piano while singing songs such as Amazing Grace.

The audience put on the eye-mask blindfolds that they had been provided at the entrance. They listened attentively to Kishita’s piano and song in darkness.

The audience was mesmerized by Imagine, performed by Chihiro Watanabe, who has a visual impairment.

Sarah Alainn, who also supports corporate backup for para-sports, filled the venue with her beautiful voice.

The evening finished with a huge chorus of Ohguro’s LA.LA.LA by all participants, the audience included.

text&photos byParasapo
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