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50th Olympic Day Festa ignites children of tohoku

2013-10-29 12:07:00 AIPS

50th Olympic Day Festa

TOKYO, October 28, 2013 - The Olympic spirit reached fever pitch over the weekend as the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) marked its 50th Olympic Day Festa in Shiroyama of the earthquake and tsunami stricken Tohoku region on Saturday, bringing smiles to hundreds of children who enjoyed a 2-kilometre walk with Olympians.

The event was one of a series that are being delivered with the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) under the “Tsubasa” IOC Support Project.

Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, said: “Reaching this milestone makes me extremely proud of the entire Japanese sporting community. Since the inception of this program and up till its 50th event today, we have shown that the power of sport inspire the children of the affected areas. Hundreds of athletes, including Olympians, have taken part in this project, and met with tens of thousands of kids. I sincerely hope that this experience will leave the children with memories that last a lifetime. The overall objective is to contribute to the recovery of Tohoku, and we will continue in our endeavours to support children there.”

Participants included Junichi Miyashita, Beijing 2008 Games bronze medallist; Kana Oyama, Athens 2004 Games volleyball Olympian; and Ai Ueda, Beijing 2008 Games and London 2012 Game triathlete.

Driven by a strong belief in the lasting and international power of sport, the Olympic Festa is part of a series of Olympic events conducted throughout the year, featuring a full day of sport, activities and games for children.

The Olympic Day Festa was launched by the JOC to encourage and support children affected by the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. As part of the “Ganbare Nippon” (Hang in there, Japan) project the JOC launched in October 2011, Olympians and athletes have hosted several Olympic Day Festas and other events in the quake-affected prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki.

In addition, the JOC is operating an ambitious five-year project, entitled The Sports Kokoro Project, to send Olympians and Paralympians to inspire young people in the disaster area. The Sports Kokoro Project (www.sports-kokoro.jp) has visited over 250 schools and laid on some 797 events since 2011 with over 150 athletes putting smiles on the faces of some over 20,000 schoolchildren and filling their hearts (kokoro) with joy.

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