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JSC and World Rowing sign an MoU to set a new stage for virtual sport international joint research

14 November 2023 Lausanne, Switzerland—the Japan Sport Council and World Rowing have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), joining forces to cooperate on an international joint research project on Virtual Sports*.

*Virtual sports have been defined as virtual forms of sports that involve physical activity (physical) and those that do not involve physical activity (non-physical), as indicated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in its Olympic Agenda 2020+5.

The environment surrounding virtual sports has developed remarkably in recent years, and continues to grow into a very significant force that has an effect on various values of society. These trends in virtual sports will most likely have a significant impact on the world of sport, and the sporting community is now placing greater emphasis on cooperation with virtual sports and eSports.

Recently, the IOC announced that the IOC Esports Commission will be studying the creation of Olympic Esports Games, following the success of the Olympic Esports Week earlier this year in Singapore – where Indoor Rowing was featured alongside the best of virtual sports across the globe.

Virtual Rowing at the Olympic Esports Week 2023

In light of these trends, the JSC and World Rowing have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to engage and promote international joint research related to the field of virtual sports for the further development of sports. By maintaining and strengthening the existing international network, this research will also be an example of the outcomes coming from the Tokyo 2020 Games legacy.

Possible areas of cooperation include, but are not limited to:
Exchange program and visits by representatives from both organizations
International Joint/Collaboration Research
Presentation of case studies at international conferences, seminars and workshops
Publication of article(s) and academic papers (s)

The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the JSC President and CEO ASHIDATE Satoshi, Vice President KUKIDOME Takeshi, and World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland, Secretary General Vincent Gaillard, and Council Member Masakuni Hosobuchi.

JSC President and CEO ASIDATE Satoshi (left) and World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland
©World Rowing

The presidents shake hands to embrace the new partnership
©World Rowing

Comment from the JSC President and CEO, ASHIDATE Satoshi:

I am very pleased to announce that this is the first time for the JSC to conclude an agreement for collaboration and cooperation with an International Sports Federation. We are particularly excited about our international joint research project with World Rowing, which is highly regarded for its potential in virtual rowing to integrate the real and virtual worlds. Through the framework of this cooperative agreement, we expect to see significant results in the field of virtual sports by utilizing the resources possessed by both the JSC and World Rowing. We also hope to play a leading role in contributing to the promotion of sports and the development of a vibrant and diverse international society with this international joint research on virtual sports, and utilize and apply the results not only to improve areas of sport in high performance but also to improve life performance within society.

Comment from World Rowing President Jean-Christophe Rolland:

We are excited to embark on this initiative with the Japan Sport Council. Indoor Rowing connects rowers from around the world virtually, fostering a diverse community of fitness and rowing enthusiasts. The different events hosted around the world, the development of digital platforms to connect these rowers and the gamification element add to the ever-growing community of Indoor Rowers. World Rowing is committed to playing a prominent role in this context, and a series of strategic initiatives are being developed to that effect. This partnership with the Japan Sport Council is fully embedded into that strategy and will contribute to unleashing the vast potential of Indoor Rowing.

Group photo of participants in the signing ceremony
©World Rowing

Discussion on future cooperation
©World Rowing

●About World Rowing
World Rowing is the governing body of the sport of rowing. It is empowered by its 159-member National Rowing Federations. World Rowing sets the rules and regulations for the practice of the sport in all its forms, including Elite, Para-Rowing, Coastal, Masters and Indoor Rowing. World Rowing oversees sanctioned events and provides advice and expertise for the organisation of rowing regattas. The Federation also works on coaching education and other matters relating to the sport and its development.

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