TOKYO, May 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government organized a special event in Ginza to promote the appeal of the Paralympic Games.
Some 22,000 visitors watched demonstrations by London Paralympic wheelchair tennis gold medalist Shingo Kunieda, Yui Kamiji, and the wheelchair rugby national team, ranked 3rd in the world.
There were hands-on experience booths for eight Paralympic events -- athletics, powerlifting, blind soccer, boccia, wheelchair basketball, and goalball -- with top athletes providing descriptions of the events. Visitors were shown what to look for in the sports and how to enjoy them.
The "NO LIMITS SPECIAL GINZA & TOKYO" event was a rousing success, with many visitors getting a firsthand sense of the difficulty and depth of the disciplines.
As 2020 approaches, we hope to be able to communicate the appeal of the Paralympics through all means available," said Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe.
Kunieda, who is injured, did not perform but said of his team mates, "I'm sure that you will find that their fantastically appealing performance is more than deserving of your warm support." Wheelchair rugby player Daisuke Ikezaki, who will be at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, said, "Because wheelchair rugby is still not as well-known as wheelchair tennis, I hope that its appeal can be conveyed via this event."
Wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby featured on the demonstration stage
Athletes Kunieda, Kamiji and Satoshi Saida were accompanied on this stage by former able-bodied professional tennis player Ai Sugiyama. After having actually experienced the sport, Sugiyama commented, "It is really tough to use a tennis racquet in a wheelchair!"
Wheelchair rugby players then offered a demonstration while able-bodied athletes Akihito Yamada and former rugby national team player Toshiaki Hirose actually tried it.
Tokyo Governor Masuzoe commented on the Paralympics that will be held in Tokyo in the year 2020. "I think that this event has been fantastic in that it has enabled so many people to experience (Paralympic events) for themselves."
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will continue to run such events that make it possible to experience firsthand the appeal of the Paralympics.
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SOURCE Bureau of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Preparation