JAPAN - The government has decided to significantly expand training facilities to develop the abilities and performances of athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
It aims to designate about 10 so-called Event-Specific Affiliated National Training Center (NTC) Facilities across the nation by fiscal 2015 to improve medical and scientific support for Paralympic athletes. The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry plans to include the relevant expenses in the fiscal 2015 budgetary request, and accelerate training support in time for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Event-Specific Affiliated NTC Facilities are regional training centers designated by the sports ministry to train promising athletes. The facilities handle sports that are not covered by the Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita Ward, Tokyo, a core training centre for Olympic athletes. They encompass winter sports, such as skating, and water and outdoor events including canoeing, boating and golf.
The ministry will designate NTC Facilities at two locations this autumn for the first time, allocating about ¥37 million (S$450,290) in the fiscal 2014 budget as a new project.
The ministry also plans to designate about eight more facilities by fiscal 2015, mainly from among the facilities currently used for training.
Medical support is considered indispensable for some Paralympic athletes, who require physical assistance with using the bathroom and body temperature control. Their sporting events are organised by the type and degree of impairment, with various kinds of prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs used accordingly. Athletic performances are often affected greatly by the extent to which these tools can perform and be adjusted to players.
An individual involved with sports for disabled players said, "The effect of medical and scientific support in their performances is greater than that for Olympic athletes." At designated NTC Facilities, medical experts will therefore offer such support as instructions for rehabilitation and nutrition. Special training equipment and measuring instruments will also be made available.
For Olympic athletes, there are 25 such facilities in the nation, while there are currently none for Paralympians.
The government aims to set up as many facilities for Paralympic sports as there are for Olympic events. It is considering designating the Japan Cycle Sports Center in Izu, Shizuoka Prefecture and the Toda Park Boat Course and Toda Boathouse in Toda, Saitama Prefecture, which are already designated as centers for Olympic players, for Paralympic boating and cycling events as well.