Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore attended the Japan-India Sports Exchange event at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here on Saturday, with promotion of judo in India being a key feature.
The function was co-organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Embassy of Japan as a kick-off event for the long-term cooperation in the field of Judo and other sports in the run up to and beyond 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
Japanese Ambassador Kenji Hiramatsu was also present during the programme, which also marked the final programme of Japan Festival.
Among the guests were hockey legend Balbir Singh senior, boxing stars Vijender Singh and Akhil Kumar. Japan's judokas Misato Nakamura (Beijing & Rio De Janeiro Olympics bronze medallist) and Masahi Nishiyama (London Olympics bronze medalist) were also among the guests.
Nakamura, Nishiyama also partnered with Shigeyuki Takeda and Shiho Kakizawa as they showcased judo skills to the audience -- mainly school children.
Japanese martial art forms such as Kendo and Karate, and performances with traditional Japanese drum show (Wadaiko) and dance form (Yosakoi) were also performed at the event.
Later on Saturday and Sunday, Japanese judo coaches will train the Indian kids and coaches.
Rathore said events like this will boost the relation between India and Japan.
He also pointed out that India has not only joined hands with Japan for cooperation in commerce and business sectors, but also in sports. He said that the Japanese are also contributing at the Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education in Bhopal.