Since 2008 Avex has been committed to hiring and supporting individuals who are top athletes in their fields in spite of their disabilities. Seven athletes, active in fields like wheelchair tennis and visually impaired judo, are currently enrolled in the Avex Challenged Athlete program. In 2016, six of our athletes participated to the "Rio 2016 Paralympic Games" and we were the first recipients of the "Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Special Prize" for supporting a great number of athletes. Our Group will remain committed even in the future to familiarizing people with challenged sports and delivering dreams and excitement to everyone.
Prior to joining Avex, I used to compete in sports while working in an office and training after work at a nearby stadium, never for more than two hours a day. After competing against world athletes with the Japanese team at the 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China, realizing that I could not win any world titles with such limited training, I began searching for a job that would leave me more time to train. Upon finding Avex, I immediately felt a connection with them, not only for being able to devote myself completely to sports, but also because I strongly sympathize with their interpretation of sports as a form of entertainment. That's how I became an Avex employee.
Since joining Avex, getting results in sports has become my job, and my training time has increased dramatically. Also, as a result of being emotionally at ease, I was also able to pay more attention to my disability and physical condition. I am now training for the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. and I hope that people with my same illness and disabilities will feel inspired when they see me running. Before a race, I always lift myself up by listening to music, and I hope I can use the power of music to get results in the races and to transmit that same power to those watching me compete. In the future I want to continue bringing hopes and dreams to as many people as possible, both as an athlete and as an Avex employee.
Since 2015 we have been holding demo events and meetings with top athletes in order to raise the profile of disabled sports like ice sledge hockey, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair basketball and more. We are currently planning and producing events, both within and outside the Company, in cooperation with several companies that likewise support sports for people with disabilities The wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby demo events we organized in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, and Fukuoka, featured many celebrities and athletes, as well as Avex's artists, and provided a chance for audiences of all ages to see, get acquainted with and try disabled sports. We will continue to hold activities for conveying the charm of disabled sports to as many people as possible.