The 2015 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball Asia/Pacific Championships were held in Hangzhou, China, from November 5 to 13. The Japanese women’s national goalball team defeated China 1-0 for the gold medal, securing a place for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.
The winning team consists of six members, including three graduates and students of the University of Tsukuba Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired. One is Ms. Saki Amuro, a first-year student in the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Another is Ms. Haruka Wakasugi, a graduate of the school who competed in the London 2012 Paralympics as the youngest player in goalball history, helping the women’s national goalball team win the gold medal. The third player is Ms. Yuki Tenma, also a graduate of the school.
The men’s national goalball team also competed in the 2015 IBSA Goalball Asia/Pacific Championships, placing fourth in the tournament. Though the men’s team unfortunately lost a chance to advance to the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Mr. Yuta Kawashima―a third-year student in the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired―contributed greatly to the team. He is currently working hard to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, aiming for the gold medal.
On November 16, Mr. Toshiaki Endo―Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games―visited the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired. The minister observed a physical education class with students playing goalball. The minister then took a tour of school facilities. After the facility tour, he met with Ms. Amuro and Mr. Kawashima. He praised them for their performance and offered them encouraging words for the next Paralympic Games.
Furthermore, the 2015 Japan Para Swimming Championships were held on November 14 and 15.
Ms. Chikako Ono―a third-year student in the Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired―won two first prizes in the women’s 100 backstroke and the women’s 100 freestyle. She also competed in the London 2012 Paralympic Games and is currently preparing for the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
Mr. Ryo Nagano, a third-year student of the school, also competed in the 2015 Para Swimming Championships. He won second place with a meet record in the men’s 100 freestyle, and won first place in the men’s 100 freestyle.
Their future success is greatly anticipated.
(From left) Ms. Azuki Tabuchi, Ms. Saki Amuro, Minister Toshiaki Endo, and Mr. Yuta Kawashima
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