Mon, October 25, 2021


Japan to establish national training centers for ‘urban sports’

The Japan Sports Agency has decided to establish national training centers (NTCs) for skateboarding, sport climbing, surfing and BMX freestyle park, which have drawn increased attention following Japanese athletes’ success at the Tokyo Olympics, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Utilizing a system in which existing facilities nationwide can be designated and supported as NTCs, the agency will proceed with the selection of target facilities. It aims to start operations next spring.

Japanese athletes performed well in these four new sports, which made their Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games. Yuto Horigome, 22, won the gold medal in men’s street skateboarding and Momiji Nishiya, 14, won the gold medal in the women’s competition. Kanoa Igarashi, 23, took the silver medal in men’s surfing.

These sports will also be part of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

After examining candidate facilities selected by each sporting organization, the agency will designate them as NTCs based on the quality of their training environment and how convenient it is for athletes to gather there from around the nation. The agency will subsidize the rent for the facilities, personnel costs for medical staff, and equipment costs.

The agency has appropriated ¥1 billion in its budgetary requests for fiscal 2022, which includes operating expenses for other sports facilities that have already been designated.

According to officials of the relevant sports organizations, candidate locations include Ariake Urban Sports Park in Koto Ward, Tokyo, the main venue for skateboarding at the Olympics; and the Surf Stadium Shizunami in Makinohara, Shizuoka Prefecture, which hosted a pre-Olympic training camp for the U.S. surfing team.

These “urban sports” are rapidly gaining in popularity, especially among young people, and facilities dedicated to them are springing up one after another overseas. However, there are few places in Japan to assemble leading athletes and help them develop, forcing individual athletes to rely on their own ingenuity.

“We want to prepare facilities where we can continue to work on strengthening the athletes, and contribute to the development of young people,” an official of the agency said.

Published : September 09, 2021