Lack of accessibility in sports facilities and infrastructure limits the involvement of individuals with disabilities in sports, making it tough for athletes to find a safe and supporting environment to jump-start their sporting careers at an early age.
Toshiyuki Saito, the head of the All Nippon ID Sport Association, also known as ANISA, is urging the IPC to allow competitors with intellectual impairments to contest a broader range of sports to give them more visibility at the Paralympics.
“They should increase the number of intellectual disability Paralympic medal events in order to give athletes with intellectual disability a chance to inspire the world,” Saito said.
International Paralympic Committee board member Miki Matheson has high hopes that the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, which kick off on Friday 4th March, will be an event that showcases sporting excellence and deepens understanding about people with disabilities.
A total of 29 athletes who will represent Japan in the upcoming Beijing Paralympics are awaiting the nation’s spotlight with 10 days to go until competitions get under way in the Chinese capital.
Japanese Paralympic Committee president Junichi Kawai will head the Japan delegation that includes athletes who will compete across four snow sports — alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, biathlon and snowboarding.