Japan Olympians Association looks ahead to Tokyo 2020
24 | 11 | 2016
With less than four years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and with the eyes of the international Olympic community firmly focussed on the Japanese capital, the Olympians Association of Japan (OAJ) is working closely with the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to support Olympians and enhance their contribution to society.
Since the OAJ was established in 2003, collaboration with the JOC has involved shared programmes, a crossover of administration staff and offices that are located right next door to each other. More recently, a change to the OAJ membership structure following the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, now automatically grants membership to all Olympians who compete in an Olympic Games.
It’s not difficult to see why the two organisations work so successfully together and why the OAJ is an effective part of the Olympic Movement in Japan. The President of the OAJ, Olympic swimming champion Daichi Suzuki, is also the commissioner of the newly established Japan Sports Agency, which has been tasked with coordinating the country’s sports administration bodies in the lead up to the next summer Olympic Games, while the OAJ’s honorary president is Olympian and IOC Member, Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the JOC.
The OAJ offers Japanese Olympians an opportunity to stay involved with the Olympic Movement and to extend their contribution to sport and society in Japan after they have finished competing. With an Executive Board made up of 18 Olympians, evenly balanced between sports and gender, and more than 1,100 members nationwide, the OAJ seeks to make a brighter future for society.
Activities include sending Olympians to schools around the country to run sports clinics and speak at events – from 2004 to 2014 a total of 4,171 Olympians were sent to 118 events across Japan, helping to spread to the Olympic values and encourage participation. The organisation also publishes a monthly newsletter, hosts social events such as charity golf tournaments and brings Olympians together at least once a year for group sessions across Japan.
WOA Executive Committee and OAJ Board member Mikako Kotani, who represented Japan in synchronised swimming at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympic Games, said:
“The OAJ strives to encourage Olympians to make the most of their special experience and knowledge, promote understanding and friendship and support the development of sport in Japan.
“In the lead up to Tokyo 2020 we will continue to work closely with the JOC on Olympic education events, lecturing opportunities and a programme of school visits to promote the Games and encourage the next generation of Olympic athletes and fans to dream big, play fair and never give up.”
For more information on the Olympians Association of Japan visit: http://www.oaj.jp/en/
World Olympians Association will be working with the OAJ, JOC and the organising committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as planning gets underway for the next Olympians Reunion Centre in less than four years’ time.