Chiba Aiming to Become Hub for Wheelchair Sports

Sports

Chiba, Feb. 14 (Jiji Press)--The eastern Japan city of Chiba is aiming to become a hub for wheelchair sports, capitalizing on the Tokyo Paralympic Games this summer.

In the Paralympics, set to be held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6, wheelchair fencing, taekwondo, sitting volleyball and goalball events will be held at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Mihama Ward in Chiba, which is close to Tokyo.

Wheelchair sports are already popular in Chiba. The Chiba Prefecture capital is home to the Chiba Hawks, a strong wheelchair basketball club, while wheelchairs of Shingo Kunieda, a competitive male Japanese wheelchair tennis player, are made by a company in Chiba.

"We've accelerated our efforts (to promote wheelchair sports) more than ever" since Tokyo won the race to host the 2020 Paralympics in 2013, a Chiba city government official said.

Among such efforts, all elementary and junior high schools in the city accept visits by para athletes for interactions. Schools have also introduced such para sports as goalball and sitting volleyball for physical education classes. Citizens organizing events aimed at promoting para sports are given up to 300,000 yen in subsidies per event from the city government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press