Paralympics in Tokyo: the leap towards a more inclusive society |


After losing her right leg in a car accident when she was a Japanese high school student, Kaede Maigawa is grateful when her friends offered her support. However, sometimes she felt that she would not be able to do anything on her own.

In order to regain her confidence, she asked her friends and teachers to let her try to do things on her own. This started her on her way to becoming an elite athlete and competing in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Ms. Maegawa shares her story during SDG District in Tokyo Panel discussion, in which three inspiring Paralympians talk about the power of sport to broaden horizons, and what Paralympic values ​​mean to them – courage, inspiration, determination and equality.

Ms. Maigawa, who competes in the long jump, is joined by famed Sierra Leonean table tennis player George Wyndham, and three-time Paralympic gold medalist Mickey Matheson in speed skating.

Breaking barriers with technology

The innovations featured in the Paralympics can ultimately help all people with disabilities, Ken Endo, CEO of technology company Xiborg, explains in a conversation highlighting technology, design and initiatives that make sport more accessible and fun for all.

Mr. Endo is leading a project to make a running prosthesis called the Blade available to everyone, not just athletes, and is working to break down various barriers, particularly in developing countries, exploring how to use locally available materials to develop blades and increase the number of people using prosthetics.

Kaede Maigawa represents Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Kaede Maigawa

Kaede Maigawa represents Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The panel also includes Lucy Meyer, Special Olympics Spokesperson-UNICEF USA Youth Disability Partnership and five-time Special Olympics gold medalist swimmer.

Ms. Meyer, who also has cerebral palsy, says doctors told her parents she wouldn’t be able to sit or swallow but “we’re happy to report the doctors were so wrong!”

She is very active in the Special Olympics program that enables children with and without disabilities to compete together in team sports. “It’s important to me that everyone accepts and includes everyone, but especially people with disabilities, because we are no different.”

Looking to the future

The final session of the Sustainable Development Goals area in Tokyo examines what sport can bring to the next generation, and how it can help societies recover from COVID-19 pandemic and improvement.

South Sudanese Olympic athlete Abraham Jam recounts the many challenges he, his team and the team’s host city of Maibashi have faced during the pandemic, with the unexpected upside being able to spend more time in it due to the postponement of the Games. Maibashi than expected, established connections and made friends with the locals.

The mayor of Maibashi, Ryo Yamamoto, testifies to the positive experience of hosting athletes from South Sudan, and believes that the city has changed as a result. “Everyone should feel encouraged to see these young people, from a faraway place in Africa, immersed in the intense practice.”

Roxana Maracino, French Minister of Sports and Olympic medal-winning swimmer, is looking forward to Paris 2024 and hopes that the path towards the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games will foster stronger collaboration between sports movements, sports education in schools, and different to enable everyone to harness the power of sport. to improve the world.

Sustainable Development Goals District in Tokyo

  • SDG Media Zone brings together world leaders, influencers, activists, experts, content creators and media partners to highlight actions and solutions to support Sustainable Development Goals.
  • SDG ZONE is organized in Tokyo by the United Nations Department of Global Communications (DGC), the United Nations Information Center in Tokyo (UNIC Tokyo), and the Asahi Shimbun Corporation, a founding member of the SDG Media Compact.
  • It is the first of the SDG Media Zone series to be fully organized by the DGC country office.
  • The first half From the online discussion held between 28 and 30 July, in time for the Olympic Games.

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