In preparation for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Japan Paralympic Committee (JPC) dispatched a team of 30 representatives to London. It was the first preliminary study visit of its size for Japan in preparation for the Games. Representatives conducted a site inspection of the Games¡Ç competition and training venues, and had meetings with the competition managers of each sport.
During the team¡Çs stay, a seminar was conducted on 16 October for local Japanese residents to learn about the history of the Games and to provide a platform for the thoughts and passions of the athletes.
Mr Kunio Nakamori, Secretary General of the JPC, briefly spoke about the history of the Paralympic Games, which has its roots in sports activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital near London for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia. (The Paralympic mascot ¡ÈMandeville¡É is named after the hospital.)
Mr Shinji Negi, the captain of the Men¡Çs Wheelchair Basketball squad at Sydney2000, shared his own experiences of how he had become involved with Wheelchair Basketball, how hard he had worked to become a member of the team, and what participating in the Games meant to him. As a former Paralympian, Mr Negi urged the attendees for their support and encouragement of the Japanese athletes aiming to participate in the London Games.
Ms Harumi Okubo, Chef de Mission of the visit team as well as that of the Japanese Delegation to the Games in Beijing in 2008, expressed her own thoughts on the Paralympic Games. She referred to the athletes as ¡Èalone in the field of play¡É. "The voices of people cheering in Japanese do reach the athletes and give them energy inside for the utmost performance. I sincerely hope that our athletes in the stadium will be backed up by a lot of such cheering next year.¡É
The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be held from 29 August to 9 September 2012. It is expected that the JPC will enter its athletes and teams in 19 of the 20 sporting competitions to be held.