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The Captain of the Women's Wrestling Club and the General Manager and "Sister" of the Wrestling Club

Ms. Eriko Nakata

A "general manager" is meant to organize all a club's background tasks. Even fulfilling this role is very tough, however, as Ms. Nakata also works as the captain of the women's team, and her grade has always maintained its position in the national class. "I never want to say 'I cannot'." Despite her soft tone, with its Kyoto dialect, her words are straight and refreshing.

"I came to this point in my life through relationships with many people," Ms. Nakata said. Among them, the most impressive event was an encounter with an alumnus of Waseda University from the team she belonged to in high school. "While I was thinking about going to university in the Kansai area, he recommended me to go to Waseda University. I was at a loss when I heard this dreamlike option." Being unable to make up her mind, she decided to visit Waseda's wrestling club for herself. There she met the coach, Takuya Ota, and his words determined Ms. Nakata's career path. "Are you hoping to go to the Olympics?" "Yes." "Well, then let's do our best."

The following spring, she got the all-clear to join the wrestling club. However, the practice was enormously tough. "The practice was so hard that I lost weight quickly?as much as 2kg in 1 day. Though I was the only woman member, there was no special treatment 'just because I am a woman.'" Separated from her family, she was struggling to live by herself in an unfamiliar place. In such a situation, the closest company she had was her teammates in the club.

When I was in the lower grades, I felt like I had so many brothers. Now I feel like I have got many younger brothers and sisters. Each player is an important junior to her, including players who are not outstanding or are continuing to lag. "Even a match which does not influence the final makes me cry when I see the faces of everyone trying. I tend to put myself in their place so much that I wish I could distribute my luck to them!'" She says that the time when her "brothers" made a reality of her long-cherished wish to win a prize in the playoffs held in October was the happiest moment in her four years, filling her heart with greater emotion than any other moments, including those of her own victory.

After graduation from the university, she will join a company and is planning to work and continue to wrestle in order to participate in the London Olympic Games. Among female wrestlers there are few who can do both wrestling and work, but she says, 'I want to discover something new in myself, not only as an athlete, but also as a full-fledged person.' After she unhesitatingly said that even though it was hard, she didn't want to skimp on her work. "Needless to add, I'd like to be happy as a woman." Her shy smile was so lovely.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Eriko Nakata

Born in Kyoto Prefecture in 1986. Graduated from Ritsumeikan Uji High School. Fourth-year student at the School of Sport Sciences and a member of the Ota Akira Seminar. She is the captain of the women's wrestling team and the general manager of the Waseda University Wrestling Club in the 2008 school year. She started to do wrestling at the age of six. She won second prize in the 63-kg class of the 2005 JOC All-Japan Junior Wrestling Championship, first prize in the 59-kg class of the 2007 All-Japan Student Wrestling Championship, and third prize in 2008. She participated in the 8th World University Wrestling Championship and won first place in the All-Japan Women's Open Championship. She is going to work in the fashion industry after her graduation.