||36th Oita International Wheelchair Marathon
Governor of Oita Prefecture
The Oita International Wheelchair Marathon was first held in 1981 in commemoration of the International Year of the Disabled as the world’s first international marathon event only for wheelchair users. The race is now officially recognized by the International Paralympic Committee, with athletes participating from the most countries and world records for both men and women, and has become the top wheelchair marathon event in the world.
At the 35th event last year, there were 42 athletes from 14 countries and 190 athletes from 32 prefectures around Japan, for a total of 232 participants. In order to make this event even more attractive to the world’s top athletes and many other participants, prize money and time bonuses were raised substantially, and the race was also designated as a qualifier for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics. As a result, there was a fierce battle among the top competitors on the course, and the spectacular race was a very memorable one.
Through the harsh sport of marathon racing, the bravery of the athletes challenging their own limits gives courage and hope and impresses not only the people cheering along the course, but also the many people of Oita.
I hope that the 36th event, being held after the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, will carry on the enthusiasm of Rio to make for a climactic race with drama and deep impression, and that the magnificence of para-sports will be broadcast from Oita to the world.
I hope we will meet in Oita.