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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2011 Early Spring Issue]>[The spring of a lively bunch] Impressive first victory in the national mixed doubles table tennis championship Bringing the club together and growing mentally as captain

Hakumon CHUOIndex

The spring of a lively bunch

Impressive first victory in the national mixed doubles table tennis championship
Bringing the club together and growing mentally as captain

Tatsuo Seyama
Faculty of Economics (Aomori Yamada High School graduate)

Tatsuo Seyama

"I never thought we could win the championship so I was surprised," showing joy in his first championship victory with a calm expression and in a moderate tone of voice.

Seyama paired with Yuka Sakamoto (3rd year student in the Faculty of Letters) in the mixed doubles at January's national table tennis championship, and scored an impressive first victory. This outstanding achievement was also a first for a Chuo University pair in the national mixed doubles competition.

Their opponents in the final were the strong pairing of last year's champions Kenta Matsudaira (Waseda University) and Kasumi Ishikawa (Miki House JSC). Both Mr. Matsudaira and Ms. Ishikawa were Japanese champions in men's and women's singles. Mr. Seyama predictably said of the Chuo pair's straight set whitewash, "we never even thought about winning the competition," and "we just went from strength to strength."

Mr. Seyama joined up with Ms. Sakamoto in October last year. There was little time to practice before the tournament, but they were able to undergo worthwhile training precisely because they are a Chuo senior and junior, respectively. Both in practice and in games, the year older Mr. Seyama, men's doubles student champion for two years running, led Ms. Sakamoto. Even in the final, Mr. Seyama continually encouraged Ms. Sakamoto, who was feeling down after losing to a primary school fourth grader in the second round of the women's singles, saying, "put it behind you and fight."

Mr. Seyama, who was brought up in an environment with both parents being table tennis coaches, has been playing table tennis since as long as he can remember. In his junior and senior high school days, he left his parents and lived in a dormitory to go to a table tennis powerhouse school in Aomori Prefecture. "I was surrounded by strong players everywhere in high school so I never felt that I 'had to win' in team matches." He decided to attend Chuo University on advice from those around him.

Looking back at his four years at university, he modestly says, "at university, I think I grew mentally more than technically." "From the outset, I never really thought, 'I want to play. I want to win,' as an individual, so I enjoy doubles more than singles." But in the competitive lifestyle at university, he came to think more positively, "I want to be stronger." "I think that is where I matured the most," he says when giving a self-analysis.

Entering his fourth year he became captain and started to look at his surroundings. Until then he says he was free to do as he pleased because he had his seniors above him, but after being given the responsibility to run the table tennis club, "I had to start thinking about what I needed to do to make the players around me stronger."

The bonds among the table tennis club members are strong. Among them, he holds those in his year in particularly high regard and expresses his gratitude in saying, "I couldn't have made it here without my classmates. We helped one another out both in our studies and in everyday life. I can talk to them about anything and they are friends for life."

After graduating, Mr. Seyama will enter a general company and compete as a corporate player on the company's table tennis team. But he won't devote all his time to table tennis as he has until now. He has an outlook for the future with his sights fixed on a new life where "work will be at the forefront."