Tokyo 2020 Live Sites in 2016 -Rio to Tokyo- Fukushima Prefecture Venue: Event Report (for September 19, 2016)

On September 19, 2016 (Monday), which was a national holiday in Japan, the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and city of Tokyo held a live site event at Azuma Gymnasium in Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture, as a part of Tokyo 2020 Live Sites in 2016 -Rio to Tokyo-.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony was broadcast live on a large display screen set up in the center of the gymnasium. Exhilarating and gripping sounds and images flashed across the large display screen, including scenes from the Flag Handover Ceremony, where the Paralympic flag was handed over to Tokyo the next host city, and highlights from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games that took place from September 8-12.

In the area set aside for trying out various sports first hand, Mr. Miura, a wheelchair basketball player on Miyagi MAX, a local Miyagi Prefecture team, gave visitors lessons on how to play wheelchair basketball. At first, the children were perplexed on how to maneuver the sports wheelchairs but soon caught on. Some children were even able to make a dazzling shot off a dribble while maneuvering the wheelchair. There were also corners for visitors to try out table tennis and Boccia, which is a Paralympic sport. Experiencing these sports helped visitors to understand the enjoyment of and gain a deeper interest in Paralympic sports.

On stage, a talk show was conducted between talent Nasubi, a native of Fukushima Prefecture, and judoka Shizuka Hangai, who is also a Fukushima native and a member of the women's judo team that competed in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Ms. Hangai talked enthusiastically about the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and her goal to become the first Japanese female judoka to take gold at the Paralympics. Other performances included a hula dance performance by the Halau Laulanani dance team, which is based in Iwaki City, and dance performance by members from DANCE STUDIO D'z, a dance school in Fukushima. “African Group,” a group of artists from Senegal that live in Japan, performed a specially arranged African dance, choreographed to the rhythm of taiko drums played by women from Fukushima. The venue was engulfed in cheers and applause. Towards the end of the performance, the spectators in front of the stage all got up and clapped in time with the energetic shouts of the African performers, and danced along with the African dance. The venue was packed with excitement as the performers and audience became one.

The event closed with Mogi Kasumi, a member of AKB48's Team 8, who is a native of Fukushima Prefecture. She looked backed on the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, talked about her own personal experiences playing sports, and her hopes and expectations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Visitors try out wheelchair basketball Visitor enjoy getting the chance to play Boccia Talk show with Shizuka Hangai and Nasubi Hula dance performed by the Halau Laulanani dance team African dance performance by “African Group” Visitors electrified by performances on stage