By Nick Butler

A five-a-side football event took place to mark 2,000 days to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics ©Tokyo 2020/Shugo TakemiSchoolchildren in the Japanese capital were involved in commemorations today to mark exactly 2,000 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Pupils from the third to sixth grades at the Tokyo International School were joined by national 5-a-side football team player, Kento Kato, to learn about the values and concept of the one of the sports set to feature on the programme in six years time.

Also present were 11-a-side stars Tsuyoshi Kitazawa, who was part of the Japanese team which won the 1992 Asia Cup, and Sydney 2000 Olympic team member, Atsuhiro Miura. 

The trio all explained about the role sport has played in their lives and explained how it provides a welcoming environment in which anyone can join in and have fun, before everyone took blindfolds to learn first-hand about the discipline played by the visually impaired.

The Opening Ceremony of the Games is scheduled for 25 August 2020, in exactly 2,000 days from today, with Tokyo set to become the first ever city to hold the Summer Games for a second time, having previously done so in 1964.

Earlier this year, the full list of sports set to be showcased was confirmed by the International Paralympic Committee, with taekwondo and badminton set to feature for the first time, while sailing and football seven-a-side will miss out.

Youngsters were coached by football 5-a-side national team player Kento Kato ©Tokyo 2020/Shugo TakemiYoungsters were coached by football 5-a-side national team player Kento Kato
©Tokyo 2020/Shugo Takemi

"I can't believe the Paralympic Games will take place in only 2,000 days from today," Kato said after the event.

"They will be here before we know it.

"As a visually impaired football player, I have been thinking what I can personally do to contribute to the success of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games over the next 2,000 days.

"But it's no use just thinking, I want to actually do things and build up experiences, and make the best use of every single day.

"It was a fantastic and truly rewarding experience to help the children discover the joys of the Paralympic sport of football 5-a-side, and even have a go at it themselves.

"If the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is able to contribute to increasing opportunities for all people, regardless of impairment, to take part and enjoy the benefits of sport, then I think that will be its greatest legacy."

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