NOC*NSF has the ambition to contribute to a long lasting social legacy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the host cities of the Games. After completing a successful project in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 NOC*NSF launched its next social project, the so call Game Changer project, for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Through the Game Changer project NOC*NSF supports the integration of people with an impairment in the Japanese society. The Game Changer project is endorsed and supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Japan.

Better integration of people with an impairment is one of the main objectives of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the Japanese government for the 2020 Games. In the last few decades NOC*NSF and Dutch federations have gained a lot of experience in the field of Paralympics and sport for people with an impairment. Sports, by all means, is an excellent way to give people with an impairment self-confidence, to facilitate their integration in society as well as to strengthen and enhance the contact between individuals with and without an impairment. NOC*NSF is pleased to share this experience and knowledge with Japan and, therefore, NOC*NSF has decided to put the integration of disabled people at the heart of its social project.

Since 2017, at least twice a year, Dutch experts share their knowledge and experience with regards to sport for people with an impairment with sports clubs, schools and governmental bodies in Tokyo. The knowledge transfer focuses on the strengthening of these organizations, so as to enable that these organizations can offer, realize and independently implement a sports program for individuals with an impairment in the future. In addition Dutch Paralympic athletes travel regularly to Tokyo in order to inspire and motivate people with an impairment, their families, teachers, coaches et cetera with their personal stories, their passion and their Paralympic or Olympic accomplishments.

In the Game Changer project, NOC*NSF closely cooperates with the Japan Sport Council (JSC), the Dutch Embassy in Japan and three Tokyo districts: Edogawa City, Nishitokyo and Adachi City. Due to the postponement of the Tokyo Games the project has been extended and will run until March 2022. During COVID-19 travel restrictions in the Netherlands and Japan the Game Changer project will continue remotely through online workshops and meetings.

Milestones Game Changer project

10 October 2017

NOC*NSF, Japan Sport Council and Tokyo districts Edogawa City, Nishitokyo and Adachi City sign the Game Changer Memorandum of Understanding at the Ambassy of the Netherlands in Tokyo.

4-11 November 2017

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch Paralympic table tennis champion Kelly van Zon and Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel

19-23 November 2017

Game Changer workshop in the Netherlands with delegations from the three Tokyo districts and Japan Sport Council

25-29 June 2018

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch parasport experts Marjolijn de Boer and Dolf Nijbroek and Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel

8-12 October 2018

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel.

4-8 February 2019

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch Paralympians and world champions wheelchair basketball Mariska Beijer and Bo Kramer, parasport expert Marjolein de Boer, and Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel.

1-5 July 2019

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch Paralympian and European champion athletics Marlène van Gansewinkel and Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel.

16-20 September 2019

Game Changer workshop in the Netherlands with delegations from the three Tokyo districts and Japan Sport Council.

18-22 November 2019

Game Changer workshop in Tokyo with Dutch Paralympian swimmer Gert Jan Schep, Dutch Parasport expert Heleen Moes, and Dutch IPC board member Rita van Driel.

2020-2021

Monthly online workshops with delegations from the three Tokyo districts, Japan Sport Council,  and Dutch Parasport experts.

Despite the COVID-19 measures in Japan the three Tokyo districts have continued the project. They have launched Sports Service Points; go-to locations for people with an impairment to get information where and how they can practice sport in their area. Furthermore, the districts have organized Walking Challenges, a walking activity for people with and without an impairment, and have organized various workshops for students, teachers and volunteers.

On November 1st, 2020 Adachi City has opened a Special Cruyff Court in cooperation with the Cruyff Foundation in one of the Adachi City neighbourhoods. The Special Cruyff Courts are safe places for children with and without an impairment to meet and to practice sport together.

On May 16th, 2021 during a remote signing ceremony the three Tokyo districts, Japan Sport Council and NOC*NSF have renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The five parties have agreed to continue their partnership and have extended the MoU until March 31st, 2022.

19 August 2021

Virtual Game Changer conference with live streams from Tokyo and the Netherlands and more than 100 participants from around the globe. Various presentations about the achievements so fare and lots of interviews with Paralympic athletes, volunteers, and administrators.