Tokyo 2020 Paralympics “13 Days of Joy and Enthusiasm | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics “13 Days of Joy and Enthusiasm

Thank you for the excitement! A record 254 athletes competed and won a record 51 medals! Playback of the "famous scenes of tears"!

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Swimming] Takayuki Suzuki (34)
Japan’s first gold medal in para-record-breaking hot swim!

Men’s 100m freestyle gold medal
Silver medal in men’s 200m freestyle
Silver medal in men’s 50m freestyle
Bronze, Men’s 150m Individual Medley
Bronze medal in men’s 50m breaststroke

The captain of the Japanese national swimming team that has competed in five consecutive Games since Athens. He has won medals in every event he has participated in, including the 100m freestyle, in which he won a Paralympic record gold medal (Photo: Afro)

The Changing Significance of the Games and the Potential of the Athletes

“The Paralympic athletes are all willing to expose their handicaps to the public. That’s why so many of them are so positive. Including me!

So said Keiichi Kimura (31), a swimmer who won his first gold medal in his fourth appearance at the Paralympics.

When I interviewed Paralympians, many of them spoke positively, and they are actually making a difference in society. Misato Michishita, 44, who won the gold medal in the women’s marathon on the final day of the Tokyo 2020 Games, uses Ohori Park in Fukuoka City as her training base, but when she first started running, many people were suspicious of Michishita running with a guide runner.

When she first started running, many people were suspicious of Michishita running with a guide runner, but now the locals have started to send her words of encouragement. It may not have been her intention, but by running, she has promoted the realization of a symbiotic society.

In fact, the Paralympic Games are also changing. In the past, the Paralympic Games were often discussed in the context of welfare, but now there are some games that can be used as entertainment.

Men’s wheelchair basketball, in particular, is full of thrills with its seesaw games. Japan finished ninth in Rio de Janeiro, but this year they were second to none in terms of shooting accuracy, speed, and tactics, and put up a rich fight in the semifinals against Great Britain and the final against the United States, which they lost.

In particular, I was blown away by the performance of the number 2 player, Renshi Chokai (22), who has gained a reputation on social media for his resemblance to Kaede Nagarekawa, one of the characters in SLAM DUNK. The way he made a series of big plays without changing his expression was just cool. In particular, his skill in grabbing offensive rebounds was always awe-inspiring.

Before he knew it, he was in position under the goal and grabbing the rebound. This skill was also demonstrated in the game against the U.S., which has players with long arms. Toriumi, who was not enough of a force at the Rio Games, has become a player that fascinates the world after five years, and I am not looking forward to Paris in three years.

The Paralympic Games have attracted so much interest, but with the closing of the Games, the athletes are facing a problem. There is a possibility that gymnasiums and other facilities where athletes can practice will be closed. The development of infrastructure for the disabled would be an asset for Japan, which is facing a super-aging society. ……

Kimura, who finally won a gold medal this time, said, “When I walk down the street in Japan, I see people with disabilities.

“When I walk around the streets of Japan, I feel that there is no room for relaxation. Everyone seems to be in a hurry. Also, many people seem to think that people around them might think they are trying to be cool when they help. Americans are like, “How about that? I’m cool, right? They help me out, and it’s fun. I would like to see a society where people have more time to spare in many ways.

Swimming] Miyuki Yamada (15)

Silver medal in women’s 100m backstroke
Silver medal in women’s 50m backstroke

The 15-year-old broke the record for the youngest Japanese to win a medal in 37 years. She shed tears of joy for her father in heaven who passed away two years ago.

Swimming] Keiichi Kimura (31)
Swimming] Uchu Tomita (32)

Keiichi Kimura (photo left)
Men’s 100m Butterfly Gold medal
Men’s 100m Breaststroke Silver medal

Uchu Tomita (Right photo)
Silver medal, Men’s 100m Butterfly
Silver medal, Men’s 400m Freestyle
Bronze medal, Men’s 200m Individual Medley

The men’s 100m butterfly final was a Japanese duel. Kimura, who narrowly missed out on a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, led Tomita, who was making his first attempt at the Olympics, throughout the race. The sight of them hugging each other and praising each other’s good fight was very moving.

Athletics] Tomoki Sato (32)

Gold medal in men’s 1500m
Gold medal in men’s 400m

In the two races in which he won gold medals, he set Paralympic records in both. In both races, he set Paralympic records, and in the 400m, he defeated his nemesis Raymond Martin of the United States, who had beaten him in both events at the previous Games.

Athletics] Atsushi Yamamoto (39)

Men’s long jump, 4th place

The legend who won the first medal in Japan’s Para-athletics as an athlete with a prosthetic leg set a new Asian record, but came in a close fourth.

Triathlon] Hideo Uda (34)

Men’s individual silver medal

Five days after his marriage, he lost his right arm due to a serious injury at work. Still, with the support of his family, he won his first medal in Japan.


Women’s marathon gold medal

Misato Michishita, the world record holder, sped up after 30 km and went into a solo run. In the post-race interview, she expressed her gratitude to the 12 members of “Team Michishita” who usually support her as her running companions.

Basketball] Men’s Wheelchair Basketball

Silver medal

Team Michishita, with its “world-class defense,” has been making rapid progress with its solid defense and fast offense. Thanks in part to the emergence of young players such as Toriumi (center right), the U.S. was in the lead midway through the fourth quarter of the final.

Boccia] Hidetaka Sugimura (39)

Gold medal, mixed individual
Mixed team bronze medal

An ace competitor in three consecutive competitions won his first gold in the individual event with a straightforward victory.

Rugby] Wheelchair Rugby

Bronze medal

The only wheelchair sport in which tackling is allowed. The team overcame an unexpected loss in the semifinals to take third place with a comfortable win over archrival Australia.

Tennis] Shingo Kunieda (37)

Men’s singles gold medal

In the final, when he eliminated the Dutch player in straight sets, he exploded with emotion. Despite the pressure of being the captain of the Japanese team, he turned the pressure into power and won his third gold medal in singles.

Tennis] Yui Kamiji (27)

Women’s Singles Silver medal
Women’s doubles bronze medal

For the first time in the history of women’s singles, Uechi made it to the final, but was narrowly defeated by the world No. 1 in a fierce tie-breaker. She lost to the world No. 1 in a fierce tie-breaker match, and ended up with a silver medal.

Yoshiko Sugiura (50) [Cycling (Road)

Women’s road race gold medal
Women’s time trial gold medal

She broke the record for the oldest person in Japan to win two gold medals. At the press conference, she replied with a smile, “I can’t make the youngest record again, but I can make the oldest record again.

Badminton] Sarina Satomi (23)

Women’s Singles Gold medal
Women’s doubles gold medal

She became the first champion in badminton, which was adopted as a new sport. Her greatest weapons are the accuracy of her “clears,” which she hits back to the back of the court, and her stamina, which does not wane until the end. She also won a gold medal in doubles, her specialty.

From “FRIDAY” October 1, 2021 issue

  • Text Jun Ikushima (sports journalist) Photographs Afro, Kyodo News, Jiji Press, Yomiuri Shimbun

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