Organizers seek to integrate Olympic-Paralympic prep

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics has decided to establish a “Paralympic council” as early as late December to have Olympic and Paralympic sports associations come together and share information.

The Olympic groups will bring their knowhow in areas such as tournament organization and personnel recruitment, while the Paralympic groups will aim to lay the foundations to operate independently after the Tokyo Games have finished.

The council will be centered on 22 groups representing Tokyo Paralympic sports and would also include Olympic groups, the organizing committee and the Japan Sports Agency. The council’s first meeting is planned for late December, with subsequent general meetings to be held about three times a year, promoting integration and strengthening day-to-day cooperation at the working level.

This decision was prompted by the current situation, in which Paralympic groups have less funding and personnel than Olympic groups and their activities are more limited.

In addition to the 22 Paralympic sports groups, Olympic groups representing 14 sports — including athletics and swimming — for which Paralympic preparations are carried out separately, will participate in the council as observers.

The Olympic groups will pass on their experience running major tournaments and negotiating with international governing bodies in order to support the Paralympic groups’ independence. They will also share information on how to recruit highly specialized staff such as senior officials and volunteers.

In the future, partnerships could be formed for athletics and swimming in areas such as the latest training theories and how to secure practice sites.

The role of council coordinator is expected to be given to Joichi Okazaki, a member of the organizing committee. Okazaki has served as executive managing director and vice president of the Japan Sports Association, among other positions, and has a great deal of experience coordinating with Olympic sports groups. Okazaki chairs a council created last year by the organizing committee that includes 36 Olympic sports groups in Japan.

A senior member of the organizing committee said: “We hope the 2020 Tokyo Games will trigger the development of Paralympic sports in Japan. We will encourage dialogue on the council so there will be a shared awareness among the sports groups. By doing so, we want the system of cooperation to remain as a legacy of the Games.”

Wednesday marked 1,000 days until the opening of the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, and 100 days until the Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, kick off on March 9. Athletes and other people involved are continuing their preparations.Speech

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