The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has today signed an agreement to secure state of the art preparation facilities for ParalympicsGB for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The deal was signed during a ceremony at Keio University’s Hiyoshi Campus. It means facilities at the University, together with other venues across both Kawasaki and Yokohama, will be available to ParalympicsGB athletes as they make their final preparations for the Games.
The sites, all part of the Greater Tokyo area, will make up ParalympicsGB’s biggest ever preparation camp and accommodate all sports who wish to stay there.
The camp will give athletes and support staff the opportunity to acclimatize, recover from travel fatigue and complete those crucial final preparations for Tokyo 2020 just a short journey from the heart of the city and in dedicated International Federation standard venues.
Tim Hollingsworth OBE, BPA Chief Executive, who took part in the signing ceremony, said: “I am delighted to be part of this agreement today with our partners from the cities of Kawasaki, Yokohama and Keio University.
“Ensuring the UK is world leading in Paralympic sport on and off the field of play is at the heart of everything we do and to achieve this success takes many factors. A crucial one is to ensure that our great athletes have the best possible facilities, environment and support in their final preparations before a Games.
“That vital period can be the difference between their ultimate success and failure and we strive to always create a world-class preparation centre to maximise their potential. I am confident this agreement will ensure our athletes will continue to inspire through their excellence at Tokyo 2020.
“We are honoured to work with such committed partners, who understand our requirements but also the positive impact the Paralympics can have. Having hosted London 2012 we know how powerful that force can be and the same can be true for Japan with Tokyo 2020.”
The deal builds on the successful approach for Rio 2016 where the British Paralympic Association and the British Olympic Association used many of the same venues to finalise their preparations. ParalympicsGB will be seeking to maintain the success of Rio 2016 where the team won 147 medals including 64 golds to finish second in the overall medal table.
Akira Haseyama, President of Keio University said: “Para-athletes allow us to realize just how diverse the world is and are the prime example of how much one can achieve.
“Working as a team together with ParalympicsGB will have a hugely positive influence, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the whole Keio community. Keio will do all it can to impart the strength and vitality of this event and ensure the athletes of ParalympicsGB will be able to compete at their highest level.”
The partnership will also focus on an exchange of ideas around sports science, medicine, education, various cultural fields, and with the regional communities.
Fumiko Hayashi, Mayor of Yokohama City, said: “It is a great honour for Yokohama to have been selected as the site of ParalympicsGB’s preparation camp for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“Great Britain and Northern Ireland itself, home to ParalympicsGB, was the birthplace of the Paralympics. We hope that awareness and appreciation of the parasports will be enhanced in the course of our hosting the camp, and that this opportunity will lead to the realization of a truly inclusive society.
“It goes without saying that we will deepen the friendship between Great Britain and Yokohama, which has grown since the opening of our port, and pass it on to the next generation. Yokohama, in cooperation with Kawasaki City and Keio University, will support the team in the spirit of “Athletes First,” doing everything we can to enable them to do their best.”
Norihiko Fukuda, Mayor of Kawasaki City, said: “I am very delighted that the ParalympicsGB team will hold its pre-Games training camp in Kawasaki City prior to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In doing so, I hope the athletes of ParalympicsGB will be able to perform to the best of their abilities at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“I also very much hope that measures such as the ‘Kawasaki Para-Movement’ which promotes the creation of ‘a local community where everyone can live an enjoyable and comfortable life’ will be further developed by exchanges between the athletes and coaches of the ParalympicsGB team and the citizens of Kawasaki City.”