Athletes aiming to win at 2025 Tokyo Deaflympics to utilize NTC

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita Ward, Tokyo

Hearing-impaired athletes hoping to win medals at the 2025 Tokyo Deaflympics will be able to take advantage of the Ajinomoto National Training Center (NTC) in Kita Ward, Tokyo, it has been learned. The NTC, Japan’s premier training base for Olympic athletes, aims to help them make great strides at the international sporting event for the hearing-impaired by utilizing the latest medical science findings to improve the training environment. The event will be held in Japan for the first time.

The Japan Sports Agency, which has jurisdiction over the NTC and the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, is coordinating the plan along with other organizations.

The NTC opened in 2008 with the main goal of supporting Olympic athletes, and together with the adjacent Japan Institute of Sports Sciences, is equipped with state-of-the-art training facilities. The number of Paralympic athletes using the NTC has increased along with the completion of NTC East, an additional building with accessible features, in 2019.

The facility was open to hearing-impaired athletes after the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2021, however this was not well known and they hardly used the facility, according to officials.

With the decision in September of last year to host the Deaflympics in Tokyo, officials have begun considering ways to help train athletes. Japan earned a record number of 30 medals at the Brazil Deaflympics held in May of last year, including 12 gold medals in swimming, karate and other sports, and it aims to increase this number by taking advantage of the NTC.

Under the plan, the federation will coordinate a schedule by receiving requests from each athletic organization and informing the Japan Sports Agency of the schedule and number of athletes who will use the NTC.

Deaflympians will begin using the NTC as early as fiscal 2023 aiming for medals.

Ryutaro Ibara, 28, who won four gold medals in the men’s swimming competition in Brazil, welcomes the plan, saying, “It will be very helpful for deaf athletes who are struggling due to limited training environments.”

The 2025 Tokyo Deaflympics will be held in November, with 70 to 80 participating countries and regions. Around 5,000 to 6,000 athletes are expected to attend.