February 26th 2018
Japan has officially inaugurated its team of athletes for the PyeongChang Paralympics, scheduled to take place in South Korea next month.
The ceremony was held in Tokyo on Monday with Prince and Princess Akishino attending.
The 38 athletes who will represent Japan were introduced. They will compete in 5 sports, including alpine skiing, snowboarding and ice hockey.
Alpine skier Momoka Muraoka received the Japanese flag, drawing cheers. She will serve as the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.
The team’s captain is Satoru Sudo, a para ice hockey player.
He said in a speech that he hopes to convey the appeal of sports to as many people as possible and encourage those with disabilities to take up a sport.
He also said the athletes will sustain the momentum generated at the Olympics, where Japanese athletes won 13 medals — a best for the Winter Games.
A send-off event was held later, featuring video messages from PyeongChang Olympic medalists, including Yuzuru Hanyu, who took the gold in men’s figure skating.
The PyeongChang Paralympics will be held from March 9th for 10 days. The Japanese team aims to win more than the 6 medals they won at Sochi 4 years ago.