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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2010 Summer Issue]>[Special report] A promising rookie Track and field team Mr. Shota Iizuka (1st year student in the Faculty of Law)

Hakumon CHUOIndex

[Special report] A promising rookie

Track and field team

Mr. Shota Iizuka (1st year student in the Faculty of Law)

"Mr. Takano spoke to me," Mr. Iizuka said excitedly. Mr. Takano is Susumu Takano, the team manager of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (a coach at Tokai University). Mr. Takano, who became the first Japanese finalist for the 400 sprint at the Barcelona Olympics in over 60 years, is Mr. Iizuka's hero.

Victory in the Kanto inter-college championship 200m sprint

It is natural that Mr. Iizuka would catch the eyes of Mr. Takano. While still a 1st year student, Mr. Iizuka took second place in the 100m sprint and first place in the 200m sprint at the Kanto district Inter-college championship (Kanto inter-college) which took place at the national stadium in May.

Furthermore, he ran the anchor leg on the Chuo University's 4x100m relay team (first: Jun Hatayama (2nd year student in the Faculty of Policy Studies), second: Sota Kawatsura (3rd year student in the Faculty of Law), third: Genki Kawai (3rd year student in the Faculty of Letters)). The team won with the new national student record (38.54 seconds). Mr. Iizuka drew people's attention as a contributor to this record.

The Chuo University sprint team, which now has many prospective athletes, attracts the attention of other universities. Particularly, the attention paid to the rookies is becoming higher than ever.

Reflecting on the Kanto inter-collegiate, which was Mr. Iizuka's first large competition, "the athletes around me looked superb, unlike in high school," he said. But he seemed to be confident after achieving excellent results. "The competitions these days are stepping stones to world competitions in the future," Mr. Iizuka said.

Glorious records during high school

Mr. Iizuka began doing track when he was 9 years old. At the age of 12, he gained his first ticket to a national championship. When he was a junior high school student, he won the title for the 100m sprint at a national championship. While ate Fujieda Meisei high school in 2009, he won the title for the 200m sprint at the inter-high school championship and the 100m sprint at the national athletic meet. As he says, "the results motivate me," he continued improving on his own best records.

Mr. Iizuka, 184cm in height, is relatively tall for a Japanese sprint athlete. His body height is comparable to foreign athletes. He has a lot of room to grow, and the expectations from the people around him are high. "Each person has his/her own sprint style. I am exploring to find the best style for me." He believes that muscle strengthening is what he needs.

"I am careful not to have injuries. The experience of muscle strain I had when I was in the second year of high school made me realize the distress of having an injury." Unlike high school, when the coach and the others take care of the athletes, the university team respects the autonomy of individuals. Therefore, Mr. Iizuka practices tight self-management.

Aiming at the London Olympics

Mr. Iizuka, who made a stellar debut at his first Kanto inter-collegiate, now has a big goal: the London Olympics in 2012. The Japanese team won the bronze medal for the 4x100 m relay at the Beijing Olympics, and the expectation is high for another medal in this event in the next Olympics. It is not an impossible dream for Mr. Iizuka to become a member of the 4x100mm relay.

(Student Reporter: Shizuka Kato; 1st year student in the Faculty of Letters)