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Japanese athletes receive send-off for 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia

Captain Takayuki Suzuki, second from right, and other representatives from Japan's 2018 Asian Para Games team attend a departure ceremony at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Oct. 3, 2018. (Mainichi/Tatsuro Tamaki)

TOKYO -- Athletes and swimmers from Japan's biggest ever Asian Para Games team took part in a departure ceremony at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on the morning of Oct. 3 before taking off to Indonesia.

The 2018 Asian Para Games will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, for eight days, from Oct. 6 to Oct. 13. Asian athletes with disabilities will compete in 558 events among 18 disciplines. Japan is sending a total of 304 athletes -- 181 males and 123 females -- the largest delegation it has ever dispatched.

Team captain Takayuki Suzuki, a 31-year-old competitive swimmer, and other representatives received flower bouquets at the ceremony. Suzuki said in a speech that he wants the team to rack up more medals "of the best color" than it has ever won before. He added, "We want to perform so that people who aren't familiar with para-sports can become interested."

Deputy leader Hiroya Otsuki expressed his determination for the team to "do its best."

(Japanese original by Hideaki Takahashi, Sports News Department)

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