Highlighting JAPAN Vol.121 June 2018

AT the Rio Paralympics two years ago, TOMOKO NAGATApeople got the chance to observe not just the athletes in action but also how their racing equipment has evolved. Wheelchairs for daily use and those for racing are radically different, with the racing versions measuring 180 centimeters in length and having three tires as narrow as competitive cycling tires. As of 31 January 2018, the top times recorded at the Oita International Wheelchair Marathon for the full marathon are 1 hour, 20 minutes, 14 seconds for men and 1 hour, 38 minutes, 7 seconds for women.Oita staged the world’s first wheelchair-National Spinal Injuries Centre in the United Kingdom, Nakamura began to incorporate sports into rehabilitation to strengthen disabled patients’ bodies and help mend their mental state. He called for sports competitions for disabled people in Oita long before the rest of the country did, and advocated for the Tokyo Paralympics as well. While about fifty people participate in the wheelchair marathon at the Paralympics, between two hundred to two hundred and fifty athletes that include invited racers from inside Japan and out—and representing fifteen countries—gather at the Oita marathon. Athletes with serious upper-body disabilities such as paralyzed torsos and elbows that cannot bend are also allowed to participate, contributing to the surge in numbers.Two thousand volunteers support these athletes, led by the local interpreters’ organization, Can-do, which provides an active base throughout the competition. The organization assists with A thrilling moment at the finish lineMaizuru Bridge is one of the toughest spots on the race courseOita Athletic Stadium Almost two hundred and fifty athletes from fifteen countries including Japan will roll at high speed during the 38th Oita International Wheelchair Marathon—the biggest event of its kind in the world—assisted by roughly two thousand volunteers.only marathon in 1981 to commemorate the International Year of Disabled Persons. The organizer was the late Dr. Yutaka Nakamura, the director of Oita Nakamura Hospital, known as the father of the Japanese Paralympics. After studying at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s 20World’s First Wheelchair International Marathon

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