Paralympian athlete Ueyonabaru receives Okinawa Colony Award
December 10, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Paralympian athlete Hirokazu Ueyonabaru, 43, was awarded the grand prize in the 19th Okinawa Colony Award on December 9. The award ceremony was held at the Naha Terrace Hotel in Naha. The award is given to physically disabled people and groups of people, who have contributed to self-reliant activities in social, economic, cultural and various other fields.
Ueyonabaru is engaged in efforts to grow and expand parasports, and he plays an active part as a sportsman. He received the award certificate and prize from Yutaka Takamine, the chairperson of Okinawa Colony Award executive committee.
Ueyonabaru said in his speech, “I want to step up further, and pass on what I have learned to other people.”
He became a quadriplegic at the age of 28 due to a motorbike accident. He first took part in parasports in a wheelchair race, which was part of a rehabilitation program. In 2008, he won a silver medal in the men’s marathon in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, China. He won a gold medal in the men’s 800-meter wheel chair track and field event in the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games, Korea.
Ueyonabaru is a member of the Okinawa Association of Athletics Federations for the Disabled. He takes part in activities to expand sports opportunities for people with disabilities, and is frequently asked to give lectures.
He said, “I want to participate in the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2020, and want people to show that we can do anything we want to do regardless of the age if we try hard.”
(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)
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