Olympic and Paralympic Project Promotion SectionWaseda University


Italian athletic team’s pre-training camp for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Hosting the Italian athletic team at our Tokorozawa campus

Chairperson’s message

Waseda University concluded a memorandum of understanding on pre-Olympic Games training camps with the Italian Olympic Committee and other parties. Professor Isao Muraoka, who is vice president and chairperson, Olympic ad Paralympic Project Promotion Committee, speaks about his vision for the training camp.

Isao Muraoka: Vice President/Chairperson, Olympic and Paralympic Project Promotion Committee/Professor, Faculty of Sport Sciences


Promoting the Olympic Games through tie-up between Waseda University and Italy.

Conclusion of the MOU

Waseda University, Saitama Prefecture, and Tokorozawa City concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Pre-Olympic Games training camp with the Italian Olympic Committee in October 2017. If the plan is formally agreed to, the Italian athletic team will start training at our Tokorozawa campus.

It was back in March 2017 that Italy approached Tokorozawa City with their proposal on the pre-training camp there. Discussion started between parties involved and arrangements were made including inspection visits to our Tokorozawa campus before the conclusion of the MOU. In terms of competition power, Italy is on a par with athletic European superpowers like the UK, Germany, and France, and is almost equal to Japan. We feel very honored that Italy paid attention to our sports performance results, which are at high levels in Japan, as well as the facilities of our Tokorozawa campus. We are in discussion with the Italian Olympic Committee, aiming to conclude a formal agreement by December 2018.

Camp issues and solutions

We will need make adjustments with Italy when looking into details on specific issues related to the training camp plan. Training camps are currently scheduled for track and field, swimming, fencing, and weight lifting, and camps for other sports may be added. A maximum of 200 athletes are expected to come, and we need to prepare a training camp framework to accommodate them, considering operation staff and other requirements. Italy wants facilities with concentrated camp functions. Our JAAF certified 400 m tracks, 50-meter pool whose temperature can be kept at a constant temperature throughout the year, cafeterias and canteens, and other facilities are gathered at one location on our Tokorozawa campus, and an Italian inspection party who visited our Tokorozawa campus highly appreciated its convenience and accessibility.

On the other hand, there remain issues to be addressed; for example, an issue of accommodation facilities for athletes and other team members. As we found that Tokorozawa City has limited accommodation facilities and that the city has difficulties preparing new accommodation for them, we plan to build a new dormitory near our campus that will be able to accommodate 107 guests. The dormitory will be used by exchange researchers and sport club members after the Olympic Games is over.

There are many other issues to be sorted out, such as time restriction on the use of training facilities during the night, time conflicts between regular classes for students and training activities by athletes. While hosting the Italian team will require understanding and cooperation of people living in surrounding areas as well as students and faculty members, we believe that the hosting experience will be invaluable as it will bring opportunities for connection and communication between the Italian team members, local residents, and students, for instance. We will work closely with all parties concerned to make the experience a success.

Enhancing the presence of Waseda University through international exchange

Expected effects

Waseda University has sent more than 400 athletes to the Olympic and Paralympic Games so far, and will continue its efforts to develop superior athletes for the games through deep involvement in sports. Specifically, we plan to send 32 athletes or more to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We believe that hosting the strong Italian team will help create synergy enhancing athletic capabilities.

In addition, we can expect academic and cultural exchange effects. Italy is one of the most important partners to Waseda University. We have sent many students and researchers to Italy since the conclusion of our agreement on academic exchange with the University of Sapienza in Rome in 1986. In 2002, we established the Institute of Italian Studies within our campus to further promote academic and cultural exchange between the two nations. Our exchange activities with Europe are much less than those with Asia. We have about 7,000 foreign students, and most of them are from Asia.

The MOU with Italy will further strengthen the relationship between Japan and Italy. Plans are under way not only for release of a series of news and information on the 2020 Games but also for dispatching our students to internship programs and the national sports center in Italy, hosting Italian national teams at our campus, and other plans even after the Games are over. These activities will help build a long-lasting relationship between the two nations. Enhanced presence of Waseda University in Italy will also help advance our academic and cultural exchange in Europe.

Taking advantage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are promoting various activities toward the two big goals: enhancing the global presence of Waseda University and establishing the Olympic and Paralympic legacy and its inheritance to the next generation. In addition to the promotion of academic and cultural exchange I mentioned earlier, I sincerely hope that all ongoing plans that we are working on will be carried out with greater prospect for success, including introduction of an academic curriculum for students on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, provision of volunteer training to schools attached and affiliated to Waseda University with a focus on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, support of overseas athletes such as joint training camps with athletes from Sri Lanka and Laos, provision of extension programs on academic and cultural exchange, and creation of opportunities of communication between residents in Tokorozawa City and Italian athletes.

Ensuring that Italy will be pleased with our dedicated hosting and support

Legacy created through hosting the Italian team

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will not only create tangible legacies such as new facilities and courses but also intangible legacies in the form of memory through interaction and communication between athletes and students who participate in volunteer services. More than a year has passed since we established the Olympic and Paralympic Project Promotion Section in October 2016, and we have advanced a step toward hosting of the Italian team, the centerpiece of our Olympic and Paralympic project. We will endeavor to actively accelerate the project as well as other projects to ensure that more students can participate in the Games.

We will also strive to work with Italy and other parties concerned to ensure that our partner, Italy, can perform best in the 2020 Games with successful results and that the partner nation will be pleased with our dedicated hosting and support.

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