Tokyo, 10 August 2009 – Two leading Paralympians, Atsushi Yamamoto and Mami Sato, today helped Tokyo 2016 to celebrate Japan Paralympic Day alongside hundreds of passionate sports fans inside an iconic Olympic legacy venue in the very heart of Japan’s capital.

The event saw people with and without disabilities enjoy taking part in the Paralympic sports of wheelchair basketball and goalball in the iconic Yoyogi National Gymnasium. The venue was used as the Tokyo 1964 Olympic and Paralympic Stadium and is a critical part of Tokyo 2016’s most compact and sustainable Games Plan in history.

Yamamoto, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic long jump silver medallist, gave the excited crowd an athletic demonstration while Sato, a two-time Paralympian long jump, commentated on her team-mate’s efforts.

The celebrations also gave local people the chance to learn more about Tokyo 2016’s innovative plans to host a Games that will set new standards in terms of legacy, sustainability, compactness and athlete experience, which the Bid showcased at a special exhibition stand.

Japan Paralympic Day was held as Tokyo prepares to welcome athletes from across the continent for the 2nd Asian Youth Para Games in early September. The event will showcase the city’s passion for Paralympic sport and ability to inspire youth.

Atsushi Yamamoto said:
“I am convinced that Japan Paralympic Day is a representative example of how passionate the Japanese are about the Paralympic movement. Today all participants at this great event demonstrated the passion our country has for hosting the Paralympic Games at the heart of our vibrant capital.

“I am 100% behind the Tokyo 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid because it will leave a truly remarkable legacy for people with disabilities, not only in Japan, but around the globe. Tokyo 2016 will showcase its 100% barrier-free, accessible environment with the world as a catalyst for positive change.”

Mami Sato said:
“It is incredibly exciting to see such a large, passionate crowd joining us Japan Paralympic Day at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Today is a great preview of the amazing atmosphere we are expecting at the 2nd Asian Youth Para Games next month in Tokyo and a clear example of how much we love Paralympic sport.

“As an athlete and a native of Tokyo, I am thrilled to support Tokyo 2016’s important campaign to bring the Games to the heart of our capital. Hosting the Games will be a great inspiration to countless young people who will be encouraged to set aspirations that Paralympic sport can help them achieve, while also providing a fantastic showcase for the Paralympic Movement.”

Dr Ichiro Kono, Chair and CEO of Tokyo 2016, said:
“Tokyo 2016 will offer an inspiring 100-year legacy to the Paralympic Movement. The 1964 Paralympic Games marked the beginnings of disability sport in Japan. Now a 21st Century Games in Tokyo will guarantee a new Paralympic legacy for the world.”

Japan Paralympic Day was organized by the Japan Paralympic Committee on 8 August 2009 with the support of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo 2016 Bid Committee and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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For further information, please contact:
Masa Takaya (Mr), Manager, International Communications, Tokyo 2016
+81-3-5320-2480, +81(0) 90 6548 6102(mobile),
masanori.takaya@tokyo2016.or.jp