Guttmann takes the Paralympic Games to Asia

Following the success of the Rome 1960 Paralympic Games, Sir Ludwig Guttmann wanted to again stage the 1964 Stoke Mandeville Games in the same venue as the Olympic Games. The 1964 Games were due to be hosted by the Japanese capital Tokyo.

Japanese authorities were also keen on the idea after seeing the success of the Rome 1960 Games and began discussions with Guttmann.  Great progress was made when Japanese specialists visited Stoke Mandeville to study rehabilitation methods and in 1962, two Japanese competitors took part in the International Stoke Mandeville Games in England.

Japanese specialists continued to visit the Games and one member of the team, Mr Kasai, Chairman of the newly organized Japanese Sports Association for the Disabled (JSAD) later became Chairman of the Japanese Organizing Committee for the 1964 Paralympic Games.

The Games was largely funded through generous donations from a variety of large organisations based in Japan.  These organizations included the National and Metropolitan Governments, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, and the Professional Baseball Association as well as some 2,000 smaller contributors.

Around 5,000 spectators attended the Opening Ceremony which was held at the Oda Field within the Olympic village and although there were fears of little media interest in the Games because of the Olympic Games that preceded them, local and national radio and television provided intense coverage.

The 1964 Tokyo Games were a huge success and saw Great Britain bring the largest contingent of athletes with a total of 70. They were closely followed by the USA who bought 66 athletes.

A significant addition to the 1964 Games was the introduction of wheelchair racing.  A 60 metre race for men and women was established.  Wheelchair racing has since become one of the most exciting Paralympic sports and has helped to raise the profile of wheelchair athletes.

The USA topped the medal table in Tokyo relegating Great Britain to second and Italy to third.

A capacity 5,000 crowd attended the Closing Ceremony in the National Gymnasium.  The Ceremony was attended by the Crown Prince and Princess, the representative of the Prime Minster of Japan, the Minster of Health and the Governor of Tokyo and by Sir Ludwig Guttmann.

Date Games were held: November 3-12

Number of nations represented: 21

Number of competitors: 375

Number of medals awarded: 418