Dr. Koichi Watanabe and the Japanese Anti-Doping Agency's Mayumi Yamamoto delivered talks on combating doping ©Facebook/TIAS.MasteringSport

Challenges facing modern sport, including doping, improving the representation of women in sport, as well as the future of Paralympic sport, were discussed by students at the Tsukuba International Academy for Sport Studies here today.

The participants in the TIAS programme travelled to the University of Tsukuba, allowing them the opportunity to hear first-hand from top professors based at the University and take in the campus and its surroundings.

Having been given a taster of Japan’s culture and traditions during yesterday’s seminars on Jigoro Kano and history of Budo, Japanese martial arts, the participants focus shifted today towards issues affecting modern sport.

Among the main issues investigated was the scourge of doping in sport, with the discussions led by university associate professor Dr. Koichi Watanabe and Mayumi Yamamoto of the Japanese Anti-Doping Agency (JADA).

Watanabe detailed Japan’s cultural attitudes towards doping, explaining that one of the key concerns had been how, in general, people in Japan have historically have wanted more medication, which contrasts with the sporting world.

He argued further education would prove extremely beneficial to both society and athletes in order to continue the change.

Outside of the lectures, the students were able to make use of the Univeristy's facilities to take part in a football session ©Facebook/TIAS.MasteringSport

Yamamoto echoed his thoughts in her lecture to the 34 students, where she spoke about the alterations to the WADA Code at the start of 2015 and the Sport for Tomorrow initiative’s “Play True 2020” project, which aims to provide values based education for athletes and coaches.

Play True 2020 also sees the establishment for the world’s first Sport Pharmacist System, which aims to target young athletes and give them vital education on doping, after it was found the majority of positive tests among young Japanese athletes were unintentionally doping.

Following the anti-doping talks, students then participated in sessions on ‘Sport and International Development’, which included a lively discussion led by Lila de Soysa, a University of Tsukuba researcher and member of the International Working Group for Women and Sport, on how to improve women’s representation in sport.

A session titled the "Future of Adapted Sport" also explored Paralympic sport, with the impact enhanced at a dinner in the evening in which Miki Matheson, one of the participants on the programme, spoke about her experience at the 1998 Nagono Winter Paralympics, in which she won three golds and one silver in ice sledge speed racing in front of her home crowd in Japan.

The focus will shift back towards Japanese culture tomorrow when the students will take classes on Japanese manner, Omotenashi and gain an experience of calligraphy, before attending a baseball match in the evening.

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