Japan Athletes Use Social Media to Boost Parasports Popularity


Tokyo, Aug. 25 (Jiji Press)--Despite the challenges presented by the spectator ban amid the novel coronavirus crisis, Paralympians are taking to social media to popularize parasports at the Tokyo Games.

At the last Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, para-archery athlete Tomohiro Ueyama, 33, set his goal of winning a gold medal in front of full stands at the Tokyo Games. Ueyama told other young athletes that he wanted to see a packed venue in Tokyo.

To boost recognition for para-archery, he began posting on Twitter with the aim of reaching 5,000 followers, the number of people needed to fill an event venue.

Ueyama counted down to the start of the Tokyo Paralympics, tweeting his everyday thoughts and hosting online drinking sessions. Despite posting a tweet of disappointment when it was decided that there would be no spectators at the Tokyo Games, Ueyama continued to post on Twitter, eventually reaching around 4,500 followers.

Koyo Iwabuchi, 26, posted videos of himself practicing and explaining techniques for table tennis on YouTube. Born with an ankle disability, Iwabuchi plays with gear strapped to his left leg.

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