From The Japan News
July 29 2021
Tomoya Ito, a Paralympic athlete who will represent Japan in para athletics, also known as track and field, will use a new racing wheelchair incorporating Formula One technology.
The 57-year-old “ironman” fully returned to wheelchair racing in 2017 and will take part in his fourth Paralympics with his new chair. “I’ll attack it with everything I’ve got,” said Ito, who served as a test driver during the wheelchair’s development by industrial design company RDS Co.
RDS is based in Saitama Prefecture and supports Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, a Formula One racing team. Applying its expertise in motorsports, it created over several years a light full carbon wheelchair with strong rigidity.
With the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games delayed by one year, RDS was able to hone the wheelchair further, improving such elements as the angle adjustment of the wheels. It also enhanced the design of the streamlined frame, unifying its colors with those of its F1 cars.
Ito, who works for Bayer Yakuhin, Ltd., is hoping these enhanced features will help Paralympic sports become more popular.
Ito has physical impediments stemming from multiple sclerosis. To avoid infection with the novel coronavirus, he has taken part in few actual races recently. However, he has done well in practice for the 400-meter event, and is therefore feeling confident for the upcoming Games.
In addition to Ito winning medals at the Tokyo Games, RDS President Anri Sugihara said, “Just as the latest F1 technologies have been used in automobiles sold on the market, we want our development of the racing wheelchairs to be utilized in such fields as health care and welfare services.”