Meet Yukiko - a ParaCheer coach in Japan running the team Shiny Smiles. We had the opportunity to meet her, the team and run a workshop with their athletes in March 2019. They recently had the opportunity to perform at the 1 year to go ceremony for the Paralympics in Tokyo! You can watch part of their performance here:
We are excited to watch this teams continued success and hope this division of the sport continues to grow in Japan!
Name: Yukiko Ishikura
Team Name: Shiny Smiles
What inspired you to start/coach a ParaCheer team (Adaptive Abilities)?
I saw an inclusive team performance at a competition overseas. I was moved by it and hoped I could get involved with cheerleading with disabled people.
How long have you been participating in inclusive cheerleading?
About 2 years.
What do you like best about coaching inclusively?
I like to see athletes gaining confidence, becoming more sociable, helping each other and growing by participating in the sport.
What are your aspirations for the growth of the sport?
I hope inclusive cheerleading will be one of the sports that disabled people around the world can choose to try, and participate in.
Are there any athletes or coaches that inspire you? If so, why?
Rick and Chantal. They taught me the right way to cheer inclusively!
What has been your favourite moment on this journey so far?
It’s not just the kids I love, but I love to see their families and friends looking happy watching their performance and enjoying them together.