Paralympic champions in action in Japan

More than 40 international swimmers join National Games in Yokohama

Man swimming with a cap showing the Japanese flag Keiichi Kimura competing at the Rio 2016 Games is one of Japan's top swimmers © • Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are still two years away but Japan is already hosting some of the world’s best swimmers and Paralympic champions during four days.

It is the 2018 Japan Para Swimming Games with more than 40 international athletes competing in Yokohama, Greater Tokyo area, from Saturday (22 September) to Monday (24).

Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and United States are some of the countries represented by top swimmers in the Japanese city.

Here is all you need to know about the competition.

Where is it taking place?

The Yokohama International Swimming Pool opened in 1998 and has a 4,000-seating capacity. It will be used by Great Britain’s Paralympic and Olympic teams for the pre-Games training ahead of the 2020 Games.

The complex is located only 35 km away from the Olympic Aquatic Centre which will host the swimming events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Who organises it?

The competition is organised yearly by the Japanese Paralympic Committee (NPC Japan).

Who are the stars of the competition?

There are plenty of them among the 400 participants.

The United States count with three-time Paralympic champions Rebecca Meyers and McKenzie Coan.

Great Britain took a young team with a series of medallists from last month’s European Championships in Dublin, such as Louise Fiddes, Maisie Summers-Newton and Toni Shaw.

Three-time Paralympic gold medallist Cameron Leslie leads New Zealand in Yokohama. He is also part of his country’s wheelchair rugby national team.

Australia’s six-time Paralympic champion Ellie Cole is also in action. Canada has Aurelie Rivard and her three Paralympic golds while Spain counts with double Paralympic champion Michelle Alonso Morales.

Are there always so many foreign swimmers competing?

The 2019 Japan Para Swimming Games has a record number of 41 international participants. Last year there were five.

What about the hosts?

Japan is using the competition as the final step in the preparations for the Asian Para Games which begin on 6 October in Indonesia.

Rio 2016 medallists Keiichi Kimura, Takuya Tsugawa and Takuro Yamada are some of the country’s biggest names in the pool.

Anything else I should know?

The main swimming pool is converted in a sports arena during the winter using panels on the floor. It hosts a series of other sports such as tennis and basketball.