The present coronavirus pandemic is posing challenges for people all around the world. Paralympic athletes, who were preparing to participate in the next Tokyo Paralympic games, are no exception. The social distancing policy adopted in numerous countries, including Japan and the UK, is changing lifestyles and making us rethink what we can do to overcome this difficult period and move forward.
In this webinar, Paralympians from the UK and Japan will talk about their life journey and how they have been able to transform their greatest challenges into opportunities. The athletes will discuss the important role of sport and physical activities in developing mental and physical well-being, and explain some of the challenges faced by elite sportspeople at the moment.
This webinar is organised with the support of the Hokkaido Shimbun Press and the Hokkaido Sports Support Network.
Date: Wednesday 10 June 2020
About the contributors
Noel Thatcher MBE is a British Paralympic runner who represented the United Kingdom at six Paralympic Games between 1984 and 2004, collecting a total of five gold medals. He was awarded an MBE by the Queen in the 1997 New Year’s Honours list for his services to athletics for disabled people. Noel has won 42 International Gold medals over six distances and has set ten Paralympic World Records through his time in competition. He was selected to carry the Union flag in the Opening Ceremony of Athens 2004. Noel ran his last International in 2005, winning a bronze medal in the European 10,000m. Noel studied Japanese at SOAS, University of London, and is a fluent Japanese speaker; he came third in the annual Sir Peter Parker Business Japanese Speech Contest. He currently works with the Japan Foundation and Japan Sports Council in a voluntary capacity to promote Japanese language, culture and sport. He received the 2019 Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for contributing to Japan-UK relations through sport.
Mitsuru Nagase is a Japanese para ice hockey goalkeeper who represented Japan between 1998 and 2015. In 1998, he competed in the Nagano Paralympics as a goalkeeper, finishing fourth overall. He was nominated a world all-star member at the World Championships in 2000, placing him in the top six global players. He subsequently moved to Ottawa, Canada, to study the Disability Support Worker course at Algonquin College along with enhancing his ice hockey skills by joining a local team. At the Salt Lake City Paralympics 2002, he ranked second among all goalkeepers. At the Torino Paralympics 2006, he won fifth place and finally he won a silver medal at the Vancouver Paralympics in 2010. Currently, Mitsuru is a Director at the Paralympians Association of Japan, and Advisor to the Hokkaido Shimbun Press on para-sports, promoting para-sports through lectures and events.