Friday, 9th August 2013
Japanese sprinters hoping to aid Tokyo's 2020 Olympic bid
Having last hosted the Olympic Games back in 1964, Tokyo is now bidding to stage the event once more in 2020, and two of the country's brightest young stars are hoping that their performances at the upcoming World Championships can boost the profile of Japanese athletics.
In doing so, 17-year-old Yoshihide Kiryu and Ryota Yamagata, 21, aim not only to take a big step forward in their own careers while inspiring younger generations to get into athletics, but also to add weight to the Japanese capital's bid to host the Games.
Having clocked up a 100m time of 10.01 seconds in Hiroshima earlier this year, Kiryu is now the second fastest Japanese sprinter of all time, behind Kijo Ito who ran 10.00 in 1998, and joint holder of the junior world record with Trinidad's Darrel Brown and Jeffery Demps of the US.
In a statement put out by the Tokyo bid committee ahead of the World Campionships in Moscow, Kiryu said: "Should Tokyo receive the honour of hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it would be the dream of a lifetime to inspire the world with a strong performance on my home turf."
According to Reuters, Yamagata has joined the call for the whole country to back Tokyo's bid, insisting that the chance to win a medal in Japan would be a dream come true.
"I will be in my prime during the 2020 Games so it would be an amazing experience if I can run in front all my international friends in Japan," he said.
Having reached the semi-finals at the London Games last year and with a personal best of 10.07, Yamagata is now looking to push on in his career and move into the elite bracket of sprinters, with the prospect of competing in a home Olympics providing a major source of inspiration.
President of Tokyo 2020 and the Japanese Olympic Committee Tsunekazu Takeda has also insisted that a strong performance by the country's representatives at the World Championships is likely to do wonders for the strength of the bid.
Written by Mark Smith