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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2011 Early Spring Issue]>[The spring of a lively bunch] Capturing the national student heptathlon title - Overcoming injury with the support of friends

Hakumon CHUOIndex

The spring of a lively bunch

Capturing the national student heptathlon title - Overcoming injury with the support of friends

Megumi Yamada
Faculty of Letters (Meiji University-affiliated Nakano Hachioji Senior High School graduate)

Megumi Yamada

At a slender 178cm tall and perfect figure, she really does appear to have spring. But when Ms. Yamada introduces her characteristics she says, "I think there are spring-type athletes and powerful athletes and I'm more the powerful type." That is understandable as, at last September's 79th Inter-University Athletic Championships (Inter-College) held at the National Stadium, Ms. Yamada won the heptathlon in style.

The heptathlon is an event judged on overall points from seven disciplines: 100m hurdles, 200m, 800m, high jump, long jump, shot put, and javelin, so, of course power, not just spring, is required. Because Ms. Yamada has both those components, she was able to be crowned national champion.

Until her third year at university, she was a track specialist in the 100m hurdles. She had only done field events after Coach Kensaku Takahashi told her to after she had fractured a bone and couldn't run. Then, she caught the eye of Mr. Takahashi by performing well in the field events of the athletic club's annual heptathlon competition and was persuaded to take up the heptathlon. With that motivation, she took up the event because, "Even if I only put up a small record, I wanted to make a contribution to the team."

The training was hard. As she had to train in seven disciplines, her training time became longer. Seven hours of practice a day was normal. "There were times when I'd only notice it was nine o'clock at night when the lights at the track went out."

Because she had little experience in the heptathlon, Ms. Yamada had to work extremely hard to catch up to the top level, and says looking back, "I didn't have enough time, so it felt like I spent my time in a storm." While it was difficult to juggle both training and study with only one day off a week, Yamada also enrolled in a teaching course.

In her first year, Yamada had a stress fracture and couldn't do any serious running and her athletic life at university was becoming a battle with injuries, but she was supported by many at the time. "I had irreplaceable teammates. I couldn't have continued along by myself. It was tough but I was happy," comments Ms. Yamada, showing gratitude to her friends, coach, seniors and parents.

Her motto is "Do and it will be done; don't do and it will not be done: if something is not done, that is because no one did it," and adds "I especially understood the latter half of these words of wisdom in my university life. I began to think that everything depends on how you look at it."

After graduating she will become a flight attendant and depart the athletics scene. "I've run myself out," she says with a refreshed expression. Now her sights are set on her onboard job, "I'm going to put everything into making sure the passengers have a comfortable flight."