It’s now less than 500 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
Accordingly, there are a variety of Games-related events held in Japan. We, junior reporters joined “500 Days to go!” Festival, an event related Tokyo 2020 Games which was held around Shin-Yokohama Park. It was on a wide scale, and we found the booth which introduces about our host town program with the UK. Junior reporters showed their interests in one of the mini concerts which were held at the main stage. “Alchemist”, Japanese duo and children from Okamura Elementary School performed “Ano Sora” composed by the duo and Japanese school children. Reporters also enjoyed the show by Games Mascots and “Foorin”, the group of 5 elementary schoolers who are popular with “Paprika”, the fight song for the Games used on NHK.
Reporters also had a chance to get the hands-on experience mainly related to Para sports, and they tried a wheelchair basketball and wore prosthesis for sports. It was a valuable experience which enabled kids to get familiar to Paralympic sports and warm to cheering at Tokyo 2020 Games.
(Here are some feedback from junior reporters)
I enjoyed some performances at the stage in Nissan Stadium. The first performance was the special live show by “Alchemist” with school kids from Okamura Elementary School. It was so impressive. The vocalist of Alchemist is physically impaired, however, he did not hide his disability and performed with his head held high and it touched my heart. The next one was the show which allows the audience to join the stage to sing and dance “Paprika” together. After the show, I challenged wheelchair basketball. It was so hard to hit the shot with my hands due to using a wheelchair. But, it gradually became easier to hit the shot once I got the hang and made it more fun. It looks so easy when I watch TV showing top athletes hitting a shot, but I realized how hard it is when I actually tried it.
I got a chance to ride on two-seated bike for visually impaired athletes to sit on the back. I sat on the back, and an event staff pedaled a bike. I was told to close my eyes halfway through to experience how it feels like and it was so scary especially when we made a turn with my eyes closed. It’s so amazing that para athletes are in sync with their guides at races even they are blind.
I didn’t have much chance to watch para sports before. But I had many para-related experiences like wearing prosthesis and playing a wheelchair race and a wheelchair basketball at this event. It was hard to walk with prosthesis because it felt like my leg was bouncing. At the try-out area for a wheelchair race, I tried how fast I can pedal the wheel with sitting on the sports-specific wheelchair and the staff took my time. It was very tiring to pedal the wheel to be fast. I recorded 13.7km/h at the beginning but I got tired and gradually slowed down so it was only 7km/h at the end.
The most interesting experience of the day was to time the speed when I shoot the ball. I have tried 3 times and my best record was 48km/h. The best record of all of the day was 87km/h. I wish I could kick the ball faster to beat the record. They also have a lot more activities like a wheelchair basketball and marathon with blinders on.
So many booths were lined up. The most attractive experience for me was to wear prosthesis. It was very heavy and brought a little discomfort. It is incredible that the handicapped athletes with their legs walk and run with that much weight. I also tried the wheelchair basketball. It was hard to hit the goal with sitting on a wheelchair and could not make a goal, so I was so happy when I made a goal. I will give my best to support not only the Olympic athletes but also the Paralympic athletes.