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The youngest person ever to be chosen for a team representing Japan in American Football!

Mr. Tomokazu Sueyoshi

"I want to be a running back who is able to rely on physical strength, and that's why I'm putting effort into weight training. I can bench about 150kg." Running backs play on the front line and gun for touchdowns. When they don't have the ball, they play the same offensive position as a blocker. They obviously need to be fast, but they also need the physical strength to stand up to tackles. When Mr. Sueyoshi started playing football as a first year student at Waseda University Senior High School he weighed in at 80kg. Since then, he's built that frame up to 94kg.

One of Mr. Sueyoshi's attractive points is that, in addition to physical strength, he also has the speed necessary for running plays. In middle school, he was already able to run 100m in just over 12 seconds. "When I entered high school I was searching for a sport that suited me and would draw upon my running ability. During that time, I was already watching NFL pro league football games and reading 'Eyeshield 21,' a manga about football. I started wondering to myself what exactly American football was and started playing. I became completely immersed in the sport. I wanted to see how far I could I push myself, even after I entered college. That's why I continued."

Mr. Sueyoshi was selected to represent Japan as the youngest member of the team at the Notre Dame Japan Bowl that was held on July 25 of this year where he went up against the Notre Dame Legends, an America football team made up of graduates from the University of Notre Dame. He was a representative chosen for his ability and future potential, looking ahead to the 2011 World Cup. "The game was mainly a bunch of kick and pass plays, and so I wasn't able to do a whole lot. I wanted to get out and play more. I was told to 'watch closely from the sidelines, and prepare myself' for the upcoming World Cup."

Practicing with veteran players has also had its benefits. "I learned how to properly step while running, how to shake off opposing defense, and a variety of other things. American players, even running backs, are all taller than 180cm and weigh more than 100kg. They're also fast. What really sticks out in my mind is when American players blew their way past Japanese defenders with a single hand and little effort. I want to see how far I can go against those types of players. In the two years before the World Cup I want to become a significantly better player and hope to be used more in international matches." Mr. Sueyoshi wants to develop his experience as a representative of Japan and aim even higher. His first goal is to defeat opposing Japanese college teams in the league games.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Tomokazu Sueyoshi

Born in 1989 in Tokyo. Graduated from Waseda University Senior High School and is currently a second year student in the School of Political Science and Economics. He currently plays for the Big Bears, Waseda's football team, as a running back. Mr. Sueyoshi is 177.5cm tall and weighs 94kg. In 2008 he played in the 2008 U-19 Global Challenge Bowl in Kawasaki. In 2009 he represented Japan in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl. His hobbies include watching films. He recommends "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Friday Night Lights," a film about American football.