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Friday, 4th November 2011
In Japan Sports News,

Disabled wrestling celebrates 20th year in Japan

Disabled wrestlers in Japan are competing for the 20th year in a twice-yearly competition many argue empowers individuals who have both physical and/ or psychological difficulties.

The wrestling competition organised by a group dubbed Doglegs first received opposition from onlookers when it was introduced in Tokyo, AFP reported.

However, many contenders and audiences now maintain the sport is a great way for disabled people to feel pride as they compete in an activity they are good at.

One 63-year-old mother, Masako Yano, explained how she was initially sceptical when her disabled son, Shintaro, first entered the wrestling ring.

Yet despite being disappointed and frustrated if he loses a fight, she revealed she quickly found the sport entertaining, sharing her deep value for the benefits it provides for Shintaro.

She told the news provider: "My son is never the same as the healthy ones because he has many disadvantages and inconveniences. But in the ring, he can stand as an equal to his rival."

Similarly, Japanese wrestler Makoto Tsuruzono expresses his appreciation for a sport that allows him to focus on the power in his arms, rather than the fact that his is wheelchair bound.

He explained the pride he takes in feeling as though no one could beat him in the ring of handicapped pro-wrestling.

Ms Tsuruzono said: "You can live with pride if you feel you are second to none when doing something, no matter how trivial it is."

Moreover, people with substance abuse issues, such as alcoholism, also compete against one another, as well as those with visual or aural impairments.

Event organiser Yukinori Kitajima defended the sport, suggesting it was a good way to make people more at ease with the concept of disability, while helping people in difficult circumstances to live their life like their able-bodied counterparts.

He told AFP: "They have their own desires. They want to make money and date girls, living freely just like their peers. They aren't like sheep."

Visitors to the city may consider checking out the sport, particularly in light of research from Nielsen, which showed Japan was voted the top tourist destination by Taiwanese holidaymakers.

Posted by Mark Smith