The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games signed a memorandum of understanding entitled "Road to Tokyo 2020" with the Agitos Foundation and the Japanese Paralympic Committee (JPC), under which the three organisations will cooperate with the aim of developing human resources and expertise in the field of Paralympic sports. It is intended that this should become one of the legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The Road to Games programme was created before the Rio 2016 Paralympics and will continue at Tokyo 2020.
During the build-up to the Games, Tokyo 2020, the Agitos Foundation and the JPC commit to sharing knowledge and expertise from more advanced sporting nations, including Japan, among the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of other countries, particularly those in Asia. The partnership also aims to help promote the Paralympic Movement globally via a coordinated programme of human resource development.
Working with various stakeholders, Tokyo 2020 plans to adopt and implement a similar programme to the "Road To The Games" project conducted by the Agitos Foundation at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Under what will be known as the "Road to Tokyo 2020" programme, a range of international sport promotions — legacies of past Games — will be organised in conjunction with events forming part of the Japanese government’s "Sport for Tomorrow" initiative. With the support of that initiative, "Road to Tokyo 2020" activities and events will cover wide range of functions including sending coaches to a number of overseas countries.
The partnership has the following objectives and plans to collaborate on the following activities:
- Enhancing the administrative capacities and standardising the technical knowledge of NPC’s across the world with regard to Paralympic sports.
- Improving the operation and structures of the NPCs and national federations across the world, developing coaches’ expertise and improving para athletes’ performance through training.
- Elevating the technical knowledge of coaches and educating athletes to raise the bar of the Paralympic movement.
- Promoting awareness of the Paralympic Movement and promoting the achievements and stories of the world’s greatest Para athletes.
The Agitos foundation will invite experts from international sport organisations to participate in seminars offering training on the coaching of Paralympic sports and on sports management; in addition, a training camp will be organised.
Programmes will be created to train and develop human resource in the field of Paralympic sports via the "Sport for Tomorrow" initiative, an international effort led by the Japanese government. These will include strategic bilateral sports international contribution project and group programme supporting the development of human resources, operated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
"The 'Road to the Games' Programme has become one of the most important sporting legacies of the Paralympic Games. It will have a significant impact on the development of the Paralympic Movement – especially in Asia – providing opportunities for National Paralympic Committees, athletes and coaches," IPC President Andrew Parsons said.
Rita van Driel, chair of the Executive Committee of the Agitos Foundation also commented: "Knowledge sharing is one of the most important tools to strengthen the Paralympic Movement, providing valuable lessons from successful experiences and raising awareness of our values. I would like to thank the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and NPC Japan for their support to such an important project in partnership with the Agitos Foundation."
Mitsunori Torihara, JPC Chairman, said: "It gives me great pleasure to conclude a memorandum of understanding for the ‘Road to Tokyo 2020’ programme. Leveraging the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we will do our best to further develop the Paralympic Movement by increasing the number of coaches and supporting the training of athletes in other countries by sharing our knowledge through international exchange and by developing human resources in the field of Paralympic sports in Japan. This project will allow us to create and strengthen relationships with those who are active in the Paralympic Movement in other countries. It will also enable us to improve the sports environment for people with an impairment in Japan, and help realize a more vibrant inclusive society."
Toshiro Muto, Tokyo 2020 CEO, said: "Since our establishment, our aim has been to help realise a more inclusive society via the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. We acknowledge the importance of developing human resources in the field of Paralympic sports, including athletes and coaches, for the development of the Paralympic Movement. We are delighted to sign an MoU and kick off these initiatives, which we believe will become legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. We believe that the programme will lead to an increase in the number of people with relevant skills and to an expansion of the range of Paralympic sports. Leveraging the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we will contribute to the promotion of the Paralympic Movement with the support of our partners and hopefully progress towards the realisation of a more inclusive society."
REHACARE.com; Source: International Paralympic Committee (IPC)/Agitos Foundation