Delegates from seven leading Japanese universities visited Manchester Metropolitan as part of a British Council initiative to learn from UK universities ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
The visit, which was jointly arranged by the Department of Exercise & Sport Science and the International Office, focused on how the University engaged with and benefited from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, as well as exploring future sport and health partnerships in Japan.
Professor Jenny Watling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, formally welcomed the delegates, before they attended interactive sessions with university academics, representatives from the Students’ Union, and sport scholars Chloe Golding and Toni Buckingham, who are aspiring Tokyo 2020 athletes. Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful female Paralympian, hosted a lunch where she shared experiences of her engagement in Paralympic development and the support she has received from the University.
Manchester Metropolitan successfully bid against 12 other UK higher education institutions to host the visit.
Professor Watling, commented: “The University was selected as a host for this visit because of the depth of sports expertise throughout the institution. It was a privilege to share our knowledge with these delegates and it will have increased awareness of the University’s strengths in sport and health amongst Japanese institutions. Thank you to all departments involved for working to make this visit a success.”
Neil Fowler, Head of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, added: “Sport is a key strength area for the University and we have established ties to both the Olympics and Paralympics which we were able to draw upon for this visit. We hope that our contribution will enable Japanese institutions to better engage with the upcoming Tokyo 2020 games.”
Ayako Towatari, Projects Manager (Education) at the British Council, said: “The programme for this visit met the exact needs of the delegates and they left with a better understanding of developing and delivering an institutional strategy to maximize benefits from Olympic and Paralympic Games. We were once again impressed with Manchester Metropolitan’s professionalism in hosting an international delegation.”
Manchester Metropolitan was heavily engaged with the 2012 Games; several students competed, the Vice-Chancellor and two students carried the Olympic Torch, the Cheshire Campus hosted a number of pre-games training camps, and the University began its sponsorship of successful Paralympians, Dame Sarah Storey and Barney Storey MBE.