Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Amid worldwide preparations for this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio in September, officials from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic organising committee have been meeting with the UK’s University of Worcester to plan a legacy for their Games.
The University is becoming internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for inclusive sport. Its fully accessible University of Worcester Arena has helped continue the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympics, widely considered the greatest ever.
This week, the University’s Vice Chancellor and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Sport, are in Japan meeting a number of officials from the organising committee for Tokyo 2020, including Chairman, Mr Yasushi Yamawaki, and Secretary General, Mr Kunio Nakamori, as well as Mr Kazuo Ogura, former Japanese Ambassador to the UK, former Secretary General for Japan’s Olympic bid, and Director of the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre.
Professor David Green and Mick Donovan are delivering a series of presentations and engaging in discussions related to the University of Worcester supporting experts in Japan planning for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020.
It follows a visit to Worcester by the Tokyo organising committee this time last year, when a delegation observed the University’s renowned inclusive approach to coach and teacher education.
Among the delegation was Dr Nobuko Tanaka, Associate Professor at Toin University of Yokohama and Counsellor to the CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. Professor Tanaka, who is also an advisor to the Japanese Paralympic Committee, believes that Worcester’s example should be followed.
Following the visit, Dr Tanaka said: “I have introduced the University’s philosophy to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee in an attempt to spread that message, and I will be strongly encouraging them to work and study alongside the University of Worcester.”
Tokyo won the bid to stage the 2020 Games almost three years ago, and the host city baton will be passed to organising committee when Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic and Paralympic Games conclude later this year. Both the 2016 and 2020 Paralympics will attempt to build on the huge triumph of the London Games.
Since the curtain came down on London 2012, the University of Worcester has helped to drive this legacy forward. The University Arena has accommodated countless regional, national and international disability sport fixtures and events, whilst also helping to break down barriers to sport participation amongst all social groups, making the facility truly inclusive.
As a result, the University has welcomed visits from disability sport experts from all parts of the world, keen to learn from its successes.
Mick Donovan said: “We continue to develop a great relationship with experts throughout the world and whilst in Japan, we are excited to be engaging in strategic discussions with such prestigious future partners for the University and the wider region.”
He continued: “In many ways, London 2012 was a real watershed moment for disability sport and, in the three years that have passed since those Games, we have built on that success, attempting to make sport accessible and enjoyable for all, whatever their level of ability.
“We do recognise that there is still plenty of work to be done, both in this country and abroad with regards to disability sport, and we are therefore delighted that Professor Tanaka and her colleagues are placing such importance on ensuring that Tokyo 2020 builds on the excellent work done during and since London 2012, and that they are so keen to work alongside our experts here at Worcester.”