The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Iizuka City and Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan, which is intended to enable South African para athletes to access the top training facilities in Japan in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The Iizuka City Invitation Committee will host a pre-game training camp programme, which is part of SASCOC’s plan to prepare South African athletes fully in order to perform competitively against their international counterparts. Wheelchair tennis and para swimming are the first sports to be introduced to this training facility, with more to be included, depending on the City’s capability.
South African athletes will be able to access the training facilities and enjoy accommodation, meals and transport at no cost. SASCOC will provide athletes with flights to Japan and medical support throughout their stay. In return, South African athletes will be expected to participate in a cultural exchange programme with the local Japanese community.
Gideon Sam, SASCOC president, says: “The first step in a long relationship with Iizuka City and Fukuoka Prefecture was taken in July with the signing of this agreement between the governor of Fukuoka Prefecture, Hiroshi Ogawa, the mayor of Iizuka City, Makoto Katamine, the president of the Iizuka City Invitation Committee, Ms Eri Maeda and myself.”
“The way has now been paved for our South African athletes who are preparing for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to have quality training facilities in Japan. We are excited about this positive step and believe it will go a long way to making our athletes battle-hardened for one of the highest pinnacle events in world sport – the Paralympics,” he concludes. The training programme will run from 2019 till the Paralympic Games in 2020.