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Sports and peace to come together in Hiroshima for extreme sports event

Athletes from a variety of sports and events show off a banner for Japan's first "Festival International des Sports Extremes" (FISE) with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in the background on Nov. 20, 2017. (Mainichi)

International urban sports event "Festival International des Sports Extremes" (FISE) will land in Japan for the first time, coming to the Former Hiroshima Municipal Stadium in April 2018.

The International Festival for Extreme Sports includes skateboarding and BMX bicycle freestyle, which were recently added to the lineup for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and near the venue lie Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the A-Bomb Dome. The event hopes to send a message of peace around the world through posting photos and videos of the event across social media.

FISE began in 1997, and held its 2017 world series across four locations, including Montpellier, France, the location of the event's headquarters. Admission to the event is free, and in France, the competition is said to have attracted some 600,000 spectators, mainly young people. In order to foster a sense of involvement, there is no seating in the venues, and onlookers can freely cheer on competitors in time with music played in the background. Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. was among the sponsors for this year's series.

The event is streamed live online, and drones and other devices are used to take video of the competition. Organizers also put effort into sending out information over social media, and event founder Herve Andre-Benoit says, "Hiroshima is the symbol of peace. By appealing with these sights, the event will become a chance for young people to rediscover sports."

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) agenda for future games included a focus on young people, urbanization and greater participation opportunities for female athletes. Plans are moving forward for realizing an outdoor "urban cluster" for spectators to enjoy events such as sports climbing and three-person basketball, events popular among young people, in the Ariake and Aomi areas in the 2020 Games' Tokyo Bay Zone. FISE will serve as a model for the urbanization goals of the Games.

The event will be held for three days from April 6, with an expected attendance of 100,000 people. FISE is also considering holding the event in Hiroshima again after 2018.

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