South Africa's athletes will prepare for the 2020 Paralympic Game in Tokyo in Iizuka City and Fukuoka Prefecture after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with both local authorities.
The MoU was signed by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) in Iizuka City, a city in the northern part of the Fukuoka Prefecture.
The training camp agreement, it is claimed, is part of SASCOC’s plan to prepare for South African athletes to be fully competitive against their international counterparts and enable them to excel at various other global events.
Wheelchair tennis and swimming will be the first sports disciplines to be introduced to the training facility when it officially launches next year but other sports, based on qualification and the city’s capability in terms of facilities, will be added as Tokyo 2020 approaches.
The cost of the training facilities, accommodation, airport transfers, ground transportation and meals will be covered by Iizuka City, which is located 1,000 kilometres from Tokyo.
SASCOC only needs to cover the costs for athletes’ flights to Japan and medical support.
In return, athletes and coaches will be expected to participate in a cultural exchange programme with the local community.
"The first step in a long relationship with Iizuka City and Fukuoka Prefecture was taken with the signing of this agreement between the Governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, the Hon. Hiroshi Ogawa, the Mayor of Iizuka City, Hon. Makoto Katamine, the President of the Iizuka City Invitation committee, Ms Eri Maeda and myself," Gideon Sam, President of SASCOC, said.
Sam added: "The way has now been paved for our South African Paralympic athletes preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to have a high-quality place to train in Japan.
"We are excited about this positive step we have taken as a Confederation as it will go a long way to making our athletes battle-hardened for one of the highest pinnacle events in world sport, the Paralympics."
South Africa won a total of 17 Paralympic Games medals at Rio 2016, including seven gold, to rank 22nd overall.
The team's most successful athlete was Charl du Toit, winner of the 100 and 400 metres in the T37 category.
South Africa's best performance at the Paralympic Games since the country's readmission at Barcelona 1992 after the lifting of apartheid was at Beijing 2008.
There they won a total of 30 medals - 21 of them gold - to rank sixth overall.
South Africa's winners in the Chinese capital included the now-disgraced Oscar Pistorius, a gold medallst in the 100m, 200m and 400m T44.