When Olympians and Paralympians showcase their incredible skill, what does it look like from their point of view? Many people probably wonder as they watch in awe as their favourite athletes compete for the biggest prizes. Tokyo 2020 introduces the ‘Let’s 55 Virtual Experience’, a project that provides an innovative experience of what it actually looks like to compete as a top-level athlete, covering all 55 sports on the Tokyo 2020 Games programme.
OKUYAMA Kazuki competes in the men’s 65kg category and hopes to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. But what do the surroundings look like when he is lifting weights? Follow Okuyama as he guides us through his routine and explains why powerlifting is so attractive to him.
Suddenly you notice that you’ve definitely improved
"Unlike other Paralympic sport, powerlifting does not have classifications based on the type or level of impairment. Rather, the competition has different weight categories. Someone like me, who has a congenital condition, would compete against athletes with all kinds of impairments, but we share the same weight category."
"Naturally, there are athletes from all over the world and you can see that athletes from different countries or ethnic backgrounds use different lifting forms. That aspect alone can affect the results. In powerlifting, it’s not so easy to determine whether or not the lift was successful. Sometimes you think, 'Why was that lift not successful?' It could be complicated, but each powerlifter is unique. Try discovering the differences, or just feel and enjoy the incredible power of the athletes lifting those heavy weights.
"What I like about powerlifting is that when I’m lifting the weights, suddenly I can feel that I’m getting stronger and better. The other day during training, I decided to track the maximum weight I could lift, and I was able to lift 145kg. [Okuyama lifted 141kg in a competition that took place in February, breaking the national record]. It could be difficult for other sports where you cannot measure your performance, but it’s easy to keep track of your record in powerlifting.
"Although the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect us and more people have become infected, I will continue to work hard every day toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. There are some things you’ll enjoy when you watch the sport live, at the competition venue, and there are other things you’ll notice watching it on TV. I hope everyone learns more about powerlifting so when it’s broadcast on TV you’ll say. 'I think I’d like to watch this'."