GB Para-rowing squad explore Tokyo ahead of 2020 Paralympic Games

The GB Para-rowing squad has been in Tokyo recently to get a feel for the city prior to next year’s Paralympic Games

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Off the back of a sensational team performance at the 2019 World Rowing Championships, the GB Para-rowing squad athletes, coaches and staff headed out to Tokyo recently to explore the city they will call home during next year’s Paralympic Games. Tom Dyson, Chief Coach of the GB Rowing Paralympic Programme, gave us an insight into the recce:

The aim of the trip was to give the squad an opportunity to see the environment in which they will need to deliver next year, and practise the travel component so that they know how to be best prepared when they travel to the Games themselves. They were kindly shown round the Sea Forest Waterway by the competition manager for rowing and were able to get out into Tokyo on a number of occasions to experience what an incredible city it is.

The group also visited the area in which they will spend their first night on the ground in 2020, as well as taking in an external view of the athletes’ village. They had the fantastic experience of seeing England triumph over Argentina in the Rugby World Cup, and with it a view of how much the Japanese have embraced the event. Outside of this, they also had some time around their training to take in some of the sites, from the Buddhist shrines to the lights of the Shibuya and Shinjuku districts. With the exception of a couple of the staff team it was people’s first time in Japan, and so everything from the orderly subway queuing to the variety of food on offer was an experience.

As the junior team can attest, the rowing venue is incredible. While it may not be as picturesque as Rio, the infrastructure at the course is great and still being improved for 2020. I’m confident that come Games time the rowers will have a brilliant environment to perform in, and it’s been a real boost to learn that for the first time Para-rowing will be covered by the host broadcasters so there should be good coverage of the event.

It’s hard to top seeing England continuing their march in the Rugby World Cup, but for many I would say the digital art museum was a stand-out part of the trip and an experience they will recommend to family and friends for next year. The other highlight would be the hospitality we received from our hosts at Keio University. With all of the work from them and ParalympicsGB, the squad were really well looked after and it will be a great base for some of the wider Paralympic Team at Games time next year.

After such an incredible World Championships the mood is definitely on a high within the squad. Going into the start of Paralympic Year is always an exciting time and the Tokyo recce only added to this. Now that we are back, the focus can definitely turn to the hard work through to Christmas. Everyone knows what needs to be done, and we now have the job of pulling together to ensure that whoever makes it onto the plane next August is ready for what will no doubt be an incredible Paralympic Games.

Be sure to follow @BritishRowing on Instagram for all the news and insight into the GB Rowing Team’s preparation for Tokyo 2020.

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