Personal reflection: #Sport4SD Job Shadowing in Tokyo by Márton Dvorák

Márton was one of the young participants, representing Hungarian University of Physical Education, that took part in our Erasmus+ Sport funded Sport for Sustainable Development project job shadowing activity in Tokyo, Japan. 


Read about his experience.

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Co Funded Erasmus Left

"During the Training and Job Shadowing activities, we learned a lot about the concept of sustainable development, especially in connection with sport."

Although I basically work as an exercise physiologist and researcher in Hungary, I had the honor of being able to participate in the Job Shadowing activities in Tokyo. My work is usually connected with physical activity and I am doing it in a suitable way. My PhD thesis is the method of individualization and controlling exercise therapy for the elderly and people with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases but I also organize outdoor and other sport events for multinational companies where I will be able to use the concepts and methods I learnt during these weeks in Japan.


During the Training and Job Shadowing activities, we learned a lot about the concept of sustainable development, especially in connection with sport. The interactive lectures explained in depth the three main pillars (social, economic and environmental), the SDGs and education forms in sport. We, Hungarians had some difficulties in the first days: most of us do not have sport organizer background because we are working as researchers and trainers. On the other hand, the SDG concept is not well-known in Hungary (we saw it first just related to the program), so we had to get it know first. Of course, in Hungary we are working on the sustainability aspects (climate change, recycling, gender equality, etc.) through global, local and individual actions but not in this systematical way.


However, our scientific background seemed useful to planning and writing the Final Report during the Job Shadowing weeks. We (Borbala Zala and me) found in the beginning of our work more than 15 scientific articles and more official reports about the sustainability aspects of the Olympic Games especially Tokyo 2020 and shared them with the others. Then after we shared the chapters, we started to write down our common chapter (Olympic venues) that helped the others to organize their chapters as well.


After the introduction of our team and our project, we divided the final report to two main chapter: 1, Mega sports events and Sustainability (in general) and 2, Case study: Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, which one had more topics. These were: Facilities, Management: Volunteers, Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the Games, Education for Sustainability and Sport-ES, Main outcomes: social, economic, environmental and Legacy. We wrote them individually and during more meetings we cross-checked them. We closed the Final Report with our conclusions and recommendations based on our work.


We also made two rounds interviews with volunteers on Tokyo 2020 and university students to get to know the public’s opinion, experience and knowledge about the sustainability aspects of the Olympics, which can shade our report with a subjective view. The overall results were that the volunteers (37 people) really enjoyed their work but also said negative aspects. The students (9 people) sensed very little from the Games which was in their home city. These facts and opinions were also part of the report.


Our visits in the facilities helped a lot during our work. Not only was it interesting to see the new Olympic Stadium from inside and exciting to go rafting in the Kansai Kayak center but we also learned a lot there about the construction and economic methods that were used during the planning and implementation of these facilities. We could build on these experiences in our chapters. It was also unique about Tokyo 2020, that the use/reuse of the old facilities was not just around 40% as in the previous Games but almost 60% which is a great way of sustainability.


I also had a chapter about the lots of actions that the organizers made to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before and during the Games. I found many scientific articles about that topic, because this was the first mega event where they had to take care of a world-wide pandemic, and maybe not the last. Instead of the highest priority on safety-first rules, the Tokyo Olympics significantly increased the daily average number of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo and in Japan as well, according to a scientific estimation. During the common work I had other, smaller tasks to finish the Final Report.


I think due to the lots of experience that we had in Tokyo during these almost four weeks and the teamwork, we could make the Final report a useful summary of the sustainability actions and after-effects of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For me, this international teamwork (with many kind of experience and working methods) was instructive. On the other hand, I learnt a lot about the sustainability aspects, approaches and methods which can be very useful during the organization of mega and even local sport events.


After the workshops and teamwork on the final report, we had many opportunities to visit Tokyo and its neighborhood: the lots of shrines, parks, hiking trails, buildings, Japanese foods and other Japanese specialties gave an amazing experience during the almost four weeks. I am very grateful of our Japanese hosts and ENGSO who made it possible for us.