Deaf girl joins universal ekiden in Tokyo

June 2, 2014

The event which regardless disability people compete in the same field called "Ota Universal Ekiden* Convention" took place in the Ota stadium in Tokyo on June 1.

The participants, both the persons with disability and healthy persons, enjoyed the sport event. The non-profit-organization Japan Universal Sport Network sponsored it.

The convention which was the 7th time by the end of this year also has many people who participate every year.

One of them was Niki Yuzuki (仁木柚希), a 11-year-old Deaf girl, who is sixth grader of a private school for the Deaf, Meisei Gakuen School in  Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo. Her ekiden team was named the "Rabbit and Cat," her favorite pets this year.

Niki enjoys soccer and swimming in a sports club. Her mother Takako (貴子), 42, says that Niki was refused for reasons of being deaf. After the club allowed Niki participate in a trial, they registered her as a club member, saying 'attendance of mother is also unnecessary'."

Takako said, "In many cases if people come in contact with a person with disability, they will understand. It is good to have a place like universal ekiden where the persons of various backgrounds participate together."

On that day Niki was the second runner, and when she got the light-blue sash, she did energy full jump for running as if she might lead Taguchi Miku (田口美紅), 19, a high school student and a volunteer escort runner with the white board in her hand for writing.

After the goal Taguchi said, "It was the first time for me to have come in contact with those who are Deaf. I understand that expressing exactly short is important for writing. I will write more smoothly next time. It was a precious experience for me."

Niki wrote on the white board with a smile, "I am worn out", and she continued with signing, "I have run hard today. I was happy to have talked with many people."


Japanese source:
http://mainichi.jp/area/tokyo/news/20140602ddlk13050049000c.html

Ekiden (駅伝) is a term referring to a long-distance relay running race, typically on roads. The Japanese term originally referred to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communication by stages.


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