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Introduction to Athletes

Hitoshi Matsunaga

Athlete & Coach, Disability class T53

  • Born in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture on September 15, 1972
  • Resident of Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture

He started competing at the age of 18 and achieved his goal of appearing in the Paralympics in 2008. Despite being regarded as a late developer, he also appeared at the London Paralympics in 2012 and was captain of the Japan para-athletics team at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics in 2016. As team coach, in addition to training two young hopefuls, he aims to compete together with them at Tokyo 2020, which will be his fourth Paralympics.

He also conducts athletics classes in Okayama Prefecture. Under the slogan of "Disabled and non-disabled people running together", he has launched an NPO in collaboration with Tenmanya Athletics Team and Okayama University and holds athletics classes with the aim of conveying the fun and wonder of sports to disabled persons, non-disabled persons, children and adults. In addition, he conducts lectures, etc. all over Japan, conveying the importance of having a dream and moving forward towards one's goals.

Profile

1987 Enrolled at Okayama Prefectural Higashi Okayama Technical High School, where he joined the athletics club
1988 Lost functioning of both lower limbs (spinal injury) in a road accident
1991 Started wheelchair competition
2001 Joined Zenotech AC
2004 Started his career as a professional athlete
2006 Employed (part-time) at the Vocational Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities
Para athletics competition advisor for Momotaro Yume Club (NPO)
2008 Member of the Japan para athletics team at the Beijing Paralympics
2012 Member of the Japan para athletics team at the London Paralympics
2014 Joined grop sincerite Co., Ltd. as an athlete
2016 Captain of the Japan para athletics team at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics
2017 Captain of the Japan team at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London
2018 Appointed as a director of grop sincerite Co., Ltd.
PB
(personal best records)
400m 50.74
800m 1:40.00
4×400m relay 3:10.60
Hobbies Craftwork, automobiles
Nickname Hee-san
Favorite foods Sweets and slightly spicy things
Foods not liked Sour things
Motto “Walk the talk”, “Dreams are to be realized, goals are to be attained”

Personal support

Main Results in Competition

2019 Nagano Wheelchair Marathon General Second place
2019 Emperor’s Cup National Wheelchair Ekiden Okayama Team, Fifth place
2019 11th Fazza Para Athletics Championships 400m Fourth place, 800m Bronze medal
2019 9th WPA Meeting Sharja 400m Fourth place, 800m Silver medal, 1500m 15th place
2019 GIO Oz Day 10K, 10㎞ marathon General Tenth place (masters Fourth place)
2019 Sydney Twilight Track Meet 400m General 12th place
2019 Canberra International Track Meet 400m second place, 800m Second place, 1500m Second place
2018 Oita International Wheelchair Marathon General 19th place
2018 Indonesia Asian Para Games 400m Seventh place, 800m Sixth place
2018 Japan Para Athletics Championships 400m & 800m Champion, 1500m general Eighth place
2018 Kushiro Shitsugen National Wheelchair Marathon Half-marathon, General Second place
2018 Japan Para Championships 400m & 800m & 1500m Champion
2018 Kanto Para Athletics Championships 400m & 800m Champion (GR), 1500m Champion
2018 The Japan Championships in Athletic 1500m General Ninth place
2018 Daniela Jutzeler Memorial 400m Second place, 800m Fourth place
2018 Nottwil IPC Athletics Grand Prix 400m Seventh place, 800m Sixth place
2018 Swiss National 200m Third place, 400m Third place, 800m Fourth place
2018 Nagano Wheelchair Marathon General Second place
2018 Emperor’s Cup National Wheelchair Ekiden Okayama Team, Fifth place
2018 Sharjah International Open Para Athletics Meeting 400m Fourth place, 800m Fifth place, 1500m 19th place
2018 Canberra International Track Meet 200m Second place, 400m Second place, 800m Fourth place
2018 Sydney Twilight Track Meet Mixed 4 x 200m Relay Champion, Mixed 4 x 400m Relay Champion
2018 Oz Day 10K, 10km Marathon General Ninth (master Third place)
2017 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London competed
2017 Kanto Para Athletics Championships 400m & 800m Champion, 4 x 400m Relay Champion, new Japanese record (NR)
2017 Japan Para Athletics Championships 400m & 800m Champion, 4 x 400m Relay Champion, new Japanese record (NR)
2017 Nottwil IPC Athletics Grand Prix 4 x 400mR Champion
2017 Swiss National 4 x 400mR Second place, new Japanese record (NR)
2017 Daniela Jutzeler Memorial 800m Fifth place
2017 Desert Challenge 400m Bronze medal, 800m Gold medal
2017 Oita Para Games 2017 100m, 200m, 400m & 800m Second place
2017 Nagano Wheelchair Marathon Half-marathon Fifth place
2017 Dubai 2017 World Para Athletics GP 400m Fifth place, 800m Third place
2017 Emperor’s Cup National Wheelchair Ekiden Okayama Team, Third place
2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics competed
2016 Japan Para Championships 100m Champion, 400m & 800m Second place
2016 Japan Para Athletics Championships and qualifying trial for the Japan team for the Rio Paralympics 100m Champion, 400m & 800m Second place
2016 Oz Day 10k General Eighth place (master Third place)
2015 Oita International Wheelchair Marathon Half-marathon Second place
2015 IPC Athletics World Championships 400m & 800m Eighth place
2015 National Wheelchair Marathon Half-marathon Champion
2015 Japan Para Championships 100m, 400m & 800m Champion
2015 Japan Para Athletics Championships 100m, 400m & 800m Champion
2014 Asian Games in Incheon 400m Fourth place, 800m Fifth place
2012 London Paralympics competed
2008 Beijing Paralympics competed
2005 Euro Championship 200m Gold medal, 400m Silver medal

Main Awards

2018 Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Technology Award for Distinguished Service to Sports, etc.
2018 2017 Okayama Prefecture Top Athlete Award, Sports Honor Award
2017 2016 Okayama Prefecture Top Athlete Award, Sports Honor Award
2017 56th Okayama Sports wards, Award for Distinguished Services
2017 Okayama City Hitomi Kinue Sports Award, Sports Honor Award
2016 Minister of Education, Sports, Science and Technology Award for Distinguished Service to Sports, etc.

See More Race Results

Message

In recent times, Paralympic culture has steadily become more prominent in Japan too. The Olympics feature many wonderful sports, but I want people to realize that para sports are an element of such competition and interesting enough to enthrall spectators. We fit our bodies into racing frames called racers, hone our remaining functions to the limit and train our minds so that we can compete over tenths and even hundredths of a second. The sight of athletes running at speeds of more than 30 km/h on a road or track surely provides the basic enjoyment of “watching” sport.

As I aim to promote such competition, I want to disseminate and develop para sports, improve myself, and connect with numerous people while setting my roots and receiving support in the local community.

Signature:Hitoshi Matsunaga

  • Hitoshi Matsunaga

  • Tomoki Sato

  • Tomoki Ikoma

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