TOKYO, Apr 1 – Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is pleased to announce that international wheelchair rugby(1)player Tomoaki Imai, has joined the staff at its Tokyo headquarters. Imai started playing wheelchair rugby in 2009 and earned a place on Japan’s national team as a 1.0 class athlete in 2013.
Imai was awarded the title Best Player in the 1.0 class(2)while representing Japan at the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) 2015 regional competition for Asia and Oceania. Off-court, Imai is very actively engaged with social contribution initiatives, including MC’s “DREAM AS ONE.” project, which was launched in October 2014 to help raise awareness about and promote para-sports.
Imai is preparing to take part in the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympic Games as part of Japan’s national team and will continue training while he assists MC with events executed under the DREAM AS ONE. project and delivers lectures on behalf of the company with its efforts to support of para-sports. MC is pleased to welcome Imai and looks forward to working with him to further raise the profile of para-sports.
(1) Wheelchair rugby is a competitive sport played by athletes with impairments (due to cervical cord injury, limb amputation, cerebral palsy, etc.). In a game, players score points by carrying a spherical ball to the opponent’s goal line while passing or dribbling the ball or holding it on their lap. Allowing players to tackle the opposing players for the purpose of blocking their offensive, wheelchair rugby is the only competitive sport that officially recognizes intentional collision between wheelchairs.
(2) Wheelchair rugby players are classified into seven classes, ranging from 0.5 to 3.5, depending on their functional ability. According the rules of the game, the total value of all the players from the same team on the court cannot exceed eight points. Imai’s 1.0 classification corresponds to the second highest level of disability among the seven classes.
Statement from Tomoaki Imai
“I am proud to be able to represent Japan as a member of its national team. While I work together with Mitsubishi Corporation in the interest of para-sports, I’ll remain dedicated to my training in pursuit of my dream to take home a medal at the next international competition.”