The Nippon Foundation Para Athlete Scholarship Presentation Ceremony11 athletes named as 3rd group of recipients

The Nippon Foundation Para Athlete Scholarship program aims to cultivate athletes with disabilities who can be expected to compete at the Paralympic, Olympic, or similar global level, and a ceremony was held on April 16 at Nippon Sport Science University’s (NSSU) Tokyo Setagaya Campus to present scholarships to the third group of 11 recipients.

Yohei Sasakawa offers words of encouragement to the scholarship recipients

The program was launched in October 2016, with the first scholarships awarded in March 2017, to support student athletes with tuition and living expenses. This year is the third year the scholarship has been awarded. The 11 students selected are all enrolled at NSSU-affiliated schools, and include Kohei Takahashi, a first-year NSSU student who represented Japan at the Men’s Slalom, Standing, and the Men’s Giant Slalom, Standing, events at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Kenshiro Matsunami, chairman of the board of directors of NSSU, attended the ceremony, and presented certificates and offered words of encouragement to 10 of the recipients (one recipient was unable to attend).

Mr. Sasakawa told the recipients, “You were selected because of the hard work you have put into your training,” and added, “Japan still does not have enough leaders among people with disabilities. I hope that you will use this scholarship to compete in your various sports, and then use that experience to become superb leaders for those who follow you in the future.”

Mr. Matsunami cited the example of Tokyo 1964 Olympic freestyle wrestling bantamweight Huseyin Akbas of Turkey, who won the silver medal despite having an impaired left leg as a result of polio, demonstrating the importance of working hard and not being held back by an impairment. He noted, “We are the only private university [in Japan] with affiliated schools offering special support, and our philosophy is that everyone has the right to enjoy sports. In addition to providing excitement to people across Japan, I hope you will make every effort to become human resources and leaders who are able to make a significant contribution toward the realization of an inclusive society that accepts diversity.”

Kenshiro Matsunami

Finally, Soshi Yoshigoe, a first-year NSSU student who competes in Para equestrian dressage, spoke on behalf of the recipients. “I was in junior high school when Tokyo won the bid to host the Paralympics, and I am aiming to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics to show my gratitude to my horse and the people who have supported me. I will work hard to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, and to create an environment in the future that makes it easy for persons with disabilities to ride horses.”

The 2019 recipients of The Nippon Foundation Para Athlete Scholarship

Recipients of The Nippon Foundation Para Athlete Scholarship

Name Gender Sport
Daisuke Mitsumoto Men Wheelchair basketball
Yuri Tomono Women Para table tennis
Miku Miyagi Women Deaf soccer
Takumi Sasahara Men Para athletics (Wheelchair racer)
Kohei Takahashi Men Para alpine skiing
Soshi Yoshigoe Men Para equestrian dressage
Ryuga Akaishi Men Wheelchair basketball
Kazushige Yoshida Men Para athletics
Yamato Shinbo Men Para athletics
Erina Yuguchi Women Para athletics, Para canoe, Sitting volleyball
Riki Azuma Men (Olympic) speed skating


Communications Department
The Nippon Foundation

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