On September 20, the Federation Aeronautique International (FAI) issued the 2001 Air Sports Medal to Shizuka Saito to recognize her work in organizing Japanese helicopter teams and for her outstanding participation in this area.
The Japan Aeronautique Association held an awards ceremony for Saito and others for exemplary service. In total, the FAI awarded the Air Sports Medal to three people, including the one to Saito and the Paul Tissandier Diploma to three others. The JAA presented awards to eleven other recipients.
Since 1999, the Japanese helicopter teams have thrilled the helicopter world by earning a good score flying the smallest Robinson R22 helicopter and contributing toward popularizing helicopter sports in Japan.
September 20 is the observation of Japanese Aviation Day. In 1991, the FAI established the Air Sports Medal on the 100th anniversary of Otto Lilienthal, who had the first successful flight.