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Japanese Sports Institutions and Universities Turn to Cardiff Met for Olympics and Paralympics Expertise 



​A team of Sports Professors and British Council officials have visited Cardiff Met to learn about how best to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Organisers identified Cardiff Met as an example of good practice, because of the University's reputation for producing current and previous Olympians and Paralympians - achievements only made possible through working closely with Sport Wales, Disability Sport Wales, the Welsh Government and Sport Cardiff.

Thirty five staff, students and alumni were among the athletes and backroom staff who enjoyed success at last summer's Games in Rio.

Tokyo will host its second Olympics 56 years after its first were held in 1964, and will be the first city to host the Summer Paralympics twice.  Japanese Higher Education Institutions and Universities similar to Cardiff Met are looking to replicate the University's models, curriculum and procedures and have identified that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are an effective catalyst for creating new partnerships with leading international partners as well as attracting international students and potential new research collaborations.

Cardiff Met showcased its sporting excellence and sport-focused research and helped inform the Japanese delegation, who are in the planning stages of this global event.

Objectives discussed between academics in Cardiff School of Sport, its Sport partners in Wales and the Japanese delegation included strategies for hosting large scale sporting events and their impact on the host city in terms of labour, transport and regeneration as well as the wider long-term impact of such events.  

Senior Lecturer Steve Osborne, who has responsibility for leading on employability, outlined the importance of connecting curriculum-relevant opportunities for student volunteering with work experience.  

Joe Towns, Programme leader for Cardiff Met's new MSc. in Sport Broadcast provided an insight on the technical, sporting and academic infrastructure that now allows Cardiff Met University to lead the UK in student sport media engagement.  

A significant aspect of the visit was to showcase how many of the University's Olympic achievements were achieved through close collaboration with the wider sporting community in Wales.

Olympic and Paralympic expertise was shared with delegates by David Evans (International Sports Events Manager at Welsh Government), Anthony Hughes MBE (Performance Director, Disability Sport Wales,) Jon Morgan (Executive Director Disability Sport Wales) and Paralympic Sailor Steven Thomas.

One delegate commented: "I am impressed by how closely Cardiff Met works with the local government, community and relevant sports organisations as well as Olympic and Paralympic athletes. We wish to see this strength of links between these institutions in Japan too."

Dr Alun Hardman, Associate Dean (International) at Cardiff School of Sport, who hosted the delegation, said: "We are very honoured to have been able to deliver this British Council event and I am particularly thankful to colleagues in the School of Sport and representatives from Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Disability Sport Wales for contributing to what was an impressive and insightful day."

Visitors represented some of the most prestigious universities in Japan including Juntendo, Osaka University of Economics, University of Tokyo, Waseda, Tokyo Metropolitan, Yamanashi Gakuin and Ritsumeikan Universities.

Another delegate said: "Cardiff Met demonstrated richness of volunteering opportunities students have as well as how the University responds to the needs of students in terms of employability."

A historical comparison of the differences between 1964 and 2002 were given by Cardiff Met Ambassador Lynn Davies CBE who showed the Long Jump Gold medal he won at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.

Mr Keith Dunn OBE, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales, was also a guest.

Ayako Towatari from The British Council added: "Cardiff Met successfully showcased its very unique engagement with London 2012 and excellence in Sports Science, education and research for the Japanese delegates. We are grateful for the colleagues from the University that such a fantastic visit programme was coordinated and hope to see new partnerships developed between Cardiff Met and Japanese universities in near future."

Dr Hardman said: "The outcome of this event is that Cardiff Met will take a leading role in the formation of a consortium of UK and Japanese universities focused on developing research methods that can better evaluate the planning, delivery and impact of Olympic and Paralympic legacies."