Popularly known as Tokyo 2020, the Summer Olympics are slated to kick off in July this year. While we are still days away from the impending international multi-sport event, a sports wheelchair made by a former Japanese Paralympian is garnering huge popularity.
Talking about the wheelchair, 49-year-old Yasuhiro Jinbo, who is a former member of the Paralympic wheelchair basketball team (men) said, “I want to disseminate Japanese technology throughout the world.” Jinbo hopes the Tokyo Paralympics will propel wheelchair sports to a whole new level of popularity.
The sports wheelchairs designed by Jinbo are currently up for grabs in over ten countries, including Japan. A couple of years ago, Britain’s national wheelchair basketball team adopted these wheelchairs. Jinbo is employed with wheelchair manufacturer Matsunaga Manufactory Co., that has its headquarter in Yoro, a town located in Gifu Prefecture.
At the age of 16, Jinbo met with a motorbike accident that injured his spinal cord. Unable to walk after the accident, Jinbo lived in isolation for almost two years until one of his friends advised him to start playing wheelchair basketball.
Much to his delight, playing wheelchair basketball made a positive impact on Jinbo's life. When he was 19, Jinbo joined one of the most competitive teams in wheelchair basketball, Chiba Hawks. He made a notable contribution to the team winning the national championship a whopping six times.
To show his gratitude to those who lent him a helping hand, Jinbo moved to Malaysia as part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency's volunteer program in 2006. During his six-month stay in Malaysia, Jinbo continued promoting wheelchair basketball.
He came across several jobless people who loved sports. “I wanted to give them employment opportunities through a business,” Jinbo said.
As soon as he returned to Japan, Jinbo immediately started working with Matsunaga Manufactory, where he designed and developed sports wheelchairs. Regrettably, the company's Malaysian outlet that sold these wheelchairs failed miserably, causing the company a huge loss.
In an attempt to make up for the aforesaid loss, Jinbo deviated his focus on marketing activities in Japan. Designed to suit a user's playing style, these sports wheelchair comes in three types. Although the sales seemed poor initially, the business started growing later.
Jinbo’s marketing efforts helped Matsunaga Manufactory to acquire an official wheelchair supplier contract with Britain’s national wheelchair basketball team. The company is currently gearing up to grow its overseas operations.
“I hope to see wheelchair sports become more popular,” Jinbo said promising to lend a helping hand to people with disabilities and make them financially dependent through the company's business.
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