“I am the Best!”
Paralympian Shingo Kunieda Speaks to
ANA Employees on the Importance of
Perseverance and a Positive Outlook
(Part 2)

2020 / 06 / 26

With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring many to work from home, ANA is finding ways to build communication between its teams and continuously encourage its staff to keep an eye on the prize during the pandemic.

In an ANA online forum, Paralympic Gold Medalist Shingo Kunieda gave advice on how to stay motivated and engaged.

Here is what Shingo Kunieda had to say about the impact of COVID-19 and how we can all work together to keep going. (And if you didn’t catch our first segment with Shingo Kunieda, please click here).

Impact of COVID-19

“The scale of this crisis became apparent to me in March while I was warming up for a match in the U.S., and I was informed that it was cancelled. Nothing like this had ever happened in my entire career. I was worried about what might happen, but my first thought was of returning to Japan. Fortunately, I was able to change my flight and get home safely.”

“Later, it was announced that the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games had been postponed for one year. I had spent so much time preparing for the event, and it was really heartbreaking to think that I might not be able to compete in my home country. I had won four major tournaments in Australia this year, so the timing of the Tokyo 2020 Games was perfect for me. However, I understand that other people have been impacted much more severely by the disease, so it is important to keep a clear perspective.”

Adapting to new circumstances

“I feel that suddenly not being able to do things I took for granted was very similar to when I first experienced life in a wheelchair. Initially, I felt down and kept asking ‘Why did this happen to me?’ While people around me went about their daily lives, I could not accept the new reality.”

“People with disabilities know that the way we accept those disabilities is important. There is a difficult period at the beginning, and then you ask, ‘How am I going to live in a wheelchair?’ I won’t deny that there are some inconveniences like not being able to climb stairs, but I can still live a full life. Back in March, I felt frustrated, but now, even with no end in sight, my mindset has changed to ‘How can I live in this world, and how can I adapt?’”

“At the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to be held next year, I want everyone to see how much stronger I will be and would be thrilled for you to come cheer me on. Let’s hope that they can hold the event next year.”

ANA employees were delighted to hear Kunieda’s story and insights. Employees left the conversation energized and with high hopes. Many appreciated his advice on how to accept the current situation, and learn how to adapt and many felt like this session was exactly what everyone needed.

“His insight gave me a valuable opportunity to rethink what I can do right now for society and ANA customers,” said one ANA employee.

Kunieda is continuing to practice affirmation training and is still training for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. ANA employees are looking forward to seeing his progress in the next year and his continued success!

Kunieda has made it possible for ANA team members to focus on "what we can do right now" especially during these difficult times. ANA has learned to adapt to the current situation and take this opportunity to “provide pleasant air travel for all” once again.

ANA is proud to have Mr. Kunieda as part of our family and will continue to support him and other athletes at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games (to be held next year) and beyond.

* Athlete Shingo Kunieda’s Profile


Tokyo 2020 Official Airline Partner

*ANA is the official airline partner of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.