MISAWA CITY, Japan --
Misawa Air Base partnered with local Japanese community members during a Paralympics sporting event at the Misawa International Sports Center in Misawa City, Japan, Dec. 1.
Paralympics is an international multi-sport event for athletes with physical disabilities, held every four years in conjunction with the Olympic games. In honor of the Paralympic games taking place in Tokyo in 2020, Misawa, as the official host city of the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby team, is holding numerous events throughout the next two years to bring greater understanding of Paralympic sports.
For this event, city officials worked with the Nippon Paralympics committee to bring a modified version to the Misawa community.
Misawa city’s mayor extended a warm invite to Misawa AB military members to participate in this unique event,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Lanning, a Naval Air Facility security department patrol supervisor. “Despite this being my first time working alongside the Paralympics committee, I felt welcomed and accepted throughout the game. This activity was exciting, unique and something we’d definitely do again.”
The participants found the experience to be wholly unique, due in large part to the para-athlete events in which they participated.
“We played sports you’d see at the actual Paralympic games,” explained Lanning. “The event geared toward individuals with disabilities.”
Throughout the day, attendees played goal ball and boccia, which is a tactical game comparable to shuffle board, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
“This gave community members a chance to forge new friendships and allowed everyone to practice and perfect their communication skills,” said Kohichiro Maita, the Misawa City deputy mayor. “The amount of cross-cultural exchange among the 12 teams was inspiring to witness. We brought everyone together, despite our differences, which continues to reinforce our strong and long-lasting community.”