by Chukai Lim and Jaimie Tanizawa,
Tetsuya Kimura, Director-General of the Japan Sports Agency, and Dr Ichiro Kono, the Vice President of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) and the Secretary-General Representative of Rugby World Cup Japan, graced the occasion as guests of honour.
Professor Hisashi Sanada, Chair of TIAS, commended the students for building on the history, not only of the University of Tsukuba but also the Olympics, which the graduates will continue to support and promote, both in Japan as well as their own countries.
Mr. Kimura encouraged the graduates to play an active role in their countries to promote and “make the Tokyo 2020 Games a success!” while emphasising the importance of kizuna, to recognise and affirm the close bonds formed by the students throughout their 18 month programme.
Dr. Kono built on those words, and called on the graduates to keep the core values of sport at the heart of all their future dealings, saying “you got so much more here than just an education. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
Ms. Ishanka Peiris from Sri Lanka was awarded the TIAS Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Final Research while the TIAS Award for Best Overall Accomplishment was awarded to Mr. Luis Guillermo Rodriguez Ibanez from Colombia. Ms Peiris said that this had been the most rewarding experience of her life and it would not have been possible without the help received from Japan.
Mr Rodriguez expressed satisfaction at achieving greater understanding of the Olympic Games, as well as education and legacy programmes. He also provided the following advice for future students: “even as you go through the programme, be open and think outside the box to consider different areas in sports in which you can work as more options may open up in the process”.
TIAS Vice-Chairman Satoshi Shimizu closed the ceremony with one last reminder to the students to continue their work in connecting and joining the world together through sport.