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The Road to Vancouver!
Playing forward on the women's ice hockey team "Seibu Princess Rabbits"

Ms. Haruka Takashima

Ms. Takashima says, "I love sitting and relaxing in a cafe while enjoying my tasty cake!" Yet at the same time, she also regretfully admits that, "Since I'm preparing myself for the qualifying stage of a tournament, I'll have to say 'Adieu!' to sweet things for a while." You'd be surprised by her cuteness if you knew that she is a forward player on the Japanese national team for ice hockey -- a kind of sport that is famous for its combativeness.

Ms. Takashima comes from Tomakomai, an area that is very big in skating sports. You might wonder why didn't she choose to do figure skating or speed skating, but to play ice hockey instead. Her explanation is, "My father used to play ice hockey for pleasure, and to me he looked very cool on the rink." Once she started playing ice hockey, Ms. Takashima exploited her natural speed and gradually evolved as an effective shooter. Due to the fact that female ice hockey was a developing sport, in order to further empower herself, she decided to ask her elder brother (the current goalkeeper on the Keio ice hockey team) for help after she entered high school. As a result, she joined her brother's team at that time as the first female player in history. The condition attached to her admission was that she would have the same practice schedule as the other players, who were all male. Ms. Takashima says when she looks back, "I thought of giving up a few times. But I didn't want to give my brother and the other players trouble, so I tried every possible way to keep up with them. If you ask me right now, I would say I survived the hard training because of the mental support I got from the other players. Those are memories that I'll never forget."

Although she spent a lot of time practicing as a high school student, Ms. Takashima also paid a lot of attention in class. "I tried to finish all my studies during class, because it would be too tiring to do so after practicing. My know-how was to stay focused over a short period of time," she said, winking. In order to become a scholar athlete, Ms. Takashima decided to apply for Waseda. She is particularly interested in sports journalism and theories about top-class athletes. During her road trip in various countries, she said she learned a lot through meeting players of different races. She says, "There are skills you can never learn if you don't see other players in action."

Meanwhile, Ms. Takashima is working hard on preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics qualifying round. "I don't want to be knocked out by a few points. I'll try my best to attack," she swears. It would be great to see Ms. Takashima as the main scorer, taking advantage of her height and delivering a better-than-ever performance in Canada in two years. Let's give her our best wishes.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Haruka Takashima

Born 1988 in Hokkaido. Former student of Tomakomai Higashi High School. 3rd-year student at the School of Sport Sciences. Player on the women's ice hockey team "Seibu Princess Rabbits." When she was a 1st-grader at her high school, she was chosen as the youngest player ever to represent Japan in a world championship. One year later, she was awarded the MVP prize in the Torino Olympics qualifiers. She took 7th place in last year's world championship. She enjoys visiting different cafes. Her favorite food is curry rice cooked by her grandmother, who is a cafe owner.