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Japanese team's Archer for the Beijing Paralympic Games Next goal is the Olympic Games!

Mr. Takahiro Hasegawa

Although his gentle smile and free way of speaking makes you think that he may be a little clumsy, from time to time his words hint that he is a person of strong will: "I am going for the gold medal at the Beijing Paralympics."

He was only in his 3rd year in elementary school when suddenly his right leg started to swell up. He was diagnosed as having'Ewing's sarcoma' which is an extremely rare type of cancer. An amputation was inevitable. "But when I woke up after the operation was over, I was more concerned about how hungry I was!" This dauntless spirit led him through 3 years of rehabilitation and in his 6th year in elementary school, he encountered archery. "I gave it a go and the arrow hit the bull's eye. Everyone praised me, telling me that I have talent. So I started practicing!"

However, because there was no decent place to learn archery, practices were pretty much self-education. "Practice makes perfect. You are never betrayed if you practice hard." Every day, he would shoot 500-1000 arrows. Keeping mentally balanced is essential in this sport. So, by imagining a game day during practice allowed him to relax and keep calm in real games. "Because I had always practiced alone, when I came to university and joined the archery club, I was really glad to have friends to seek advice from. Maybe they will tease me when they find out that I am in 'People'."

Ten years have past since the outbreak of his disease. The risk of a relapse is gone and he has become a national athlete for this summer's Paralympics. It is probably a big turning point for him but he describes it as a 'passage.' Mr. Hasegawa has achieved good results in numerous national games for non-disabled people and aims for the Olympics. "I must clear my nearest goals first." Looking beyond Beijing, his challenge continues.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Takahiro Hasegawa

Born in Chiba, 1989. Graduated Tsudanuma High School. 1st year student of School of Sport Sciences. A member of the Archery club. Champion of 2006 Asia-Oceania Archery Championship. Sets a Japan record in the same year. Seed player of 2007 JOC Junior Olympic Cup 25th National High School Archery Tournament. 3rd place in the IPC world ranking (as of May 23, 2008). Hobbies are reading, watching movies and playing sports.