Tokyo 2020’s Sport for Tomorrow project has partnered with the Agitos Foundation, the development arm of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), as it aims to grow Para-sport in South East Asia ahead of the Paralympic Games in Japan’s capital.
The launch, which took place in Kuala Lumpur, marks the start of a new Para-sport management programme and was supported by the Nippon Foundation and Japanese Paralympic Committee.
It will look to empower the National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to strengthen their structures through collaborative working and training.
Leaders from the NPCs initially gathered in Malaysia’s capital to hear about the programme and share their strengths and the challenges they face in all aspects of developing Para-sport.
They presented the situation in their countries to the group, discussed the regional position, and got the chance to enjoy competition at the IPC Powerlifting World Cup.
Each NPC then nominated two young leaders and managers or directors responsible for Para-sport to take part in a training workshop in Tokyo later this year.
The training will include elements of the Agitos Foundation’s Organisational Capacity Programme, which is already supporting NPCs around the world with their development.
Sport for Tomorrow is a three-step initiative, first officially presented at the International Olympic Committee Session in Buenos Aires in 2013 as part of Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The project will see Japanese delegates assist with sporting events in various different countries, as well as dispatching sports instructors as part of their volunteer scheme.
"The Sport for Tomorrow programme is one of the Japanese Government’s commitments to leverage the power of sport and further promote the Olympic and Paralympic Movements to create a bright future for people throughout the world," said Takumi Kawahara, director of the Secretariat of the Sport for Tomorrow Consortium.
"This training programme is co-organised by the Japan Sport Council and Agitos Foundation in collaboration with Japanese Sport Committee and Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre, and I expect the training workshop would contribute to enhancing the capacities of NPCs to further promote sports for people with an impairment."
Georg Schlachtenberger, director of the Agitos Foundation, added: "The Agitos Foundation’s reach is rapidly expanding and we are delighted to now partner with the Japan Sport Council as part of Sport for Tomorrow, alongside the Nippon Foundation and Japanese Paralympic Committee.
"The next four years ahead of Tokyo 2020 will see a huge increase in awareness around Para-sport in the Asian region and we want to ensure that NPCs are ready to capitalise on that.
"Our aim is for them to improve their grassroots and high performance programmes, develop and refine talent identification, and build partnerships with organisations and sponsors.
"This way we will help secure the legacy of Tokyo 2020 for generations to come."