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Women's Ski Team wins first overall victory at Intercollegiate Skiing Games!
Toward the next goal with the glory their in hearts

Sari Furuya / Michiko Kashiwabara / Hibari Sanada

At the 85th Intercollegiate Skiing Games ("Inter College Games"), the WASEDA University Women's Ski Team finally won a first overall victory that they had waited for a long time. Sari, Michiko and Hibari won first place at the Cross Country Sprint, 5km Cross Country, and Giant Slalom, respectively, contributing greatly to the overall victory of WASEDA.

A photo showing the excitement when they won. Sari (left) and Michiko (center)

Upon asking Hibari who is one year younger than the other two, she simply said, "Extraordinary!" Sari and Michiko promptly responded, "That's true for you!" As they live together at the Skiing Team's dormitory, their relationship is more like a family rather than friends. Once on the snow, however, they are top athletes that mutually respect each other. Under the guidance of Hidemichi Kurata, coach, who respects the will of each member, they addressed their own challenges.

In February 2012, the three of them participated in the Inter College Games. This 9-day event held at two venues in Iwate Prefecture is divided into the Alpine category in the first half and Cross Country races in the second half.
"Members of the Alpine Team wanted to get a good impetus and convey it to the Cross Country Team. I definitely wanted to win for the teammates who couldn't make it," says Sari, who actually became the winner of the Giant Slalom race. The Cross Country Team received the greatest baton from the Alpine Team. When Sari stood on the starting line of the Sprint Race held on the first day of the second half, she had a special sense of commitment. "Different from events we participate in as individuals, we have a sense of responsibility and confidence at Inter College Races, as we have teammates." Following Hibari, Sari was the first to reach the top gate, coming in first place in the sprint race. At that time, Michiko was on the way to Iwate where the event was held, returning from her own tour to Turkey.
"I was very happy to hear of the victory of Hibari in Turkey. My intention is always simple. I race to win!" On the day after returning to Japan, she stood on the starting line of the 5km Cross Country race. Next to her was Sari, a friend since high school. At the start, Sari kept the lead at an accelerated pace, while Michiko who started from behind kept her own pace.
"Around the 3km point, Michiko caught up with me, and I just ran after her back. Though she must have been tired after returning from abroad, Michiko was so strong!" Sari really felt again the mental strength of Michiko who participated at the Vancouver Olympic Games. The two ran ahead of the other racers and reached the goal with a one-two finish.

The members of the Skiing Team gathered in Iwate during intervals of their individual races. The Inter College Games were completed with their joy.

The three were asked about skiing and the presence of teammates. "I've learned all about the joy and sadness of life from skiing. My teammates are really like my family. Even when something sad happens, I am cheered up by meeting them!" Hibari says. "Skiing taught me how important teammates are, how big the world is and what a feeling of gratitude is. I feel lonely when I think about the day I will leave the dormitory after graduation, so I want to spend precious happy times with my friends," Sari says. Michiko commented, "I don't feel I have sacrificed my life to skiing, but without such determination, I don't think we can survive in the world of competition. But I couldn't do it alone. I am here because I have my teammates."

Supported by the ties with their teammates, the three are aiming towards higher targets. Their own challenges continue, so please pay attention to their future activities.

Michiko at the moment when her victory in the 5km Cross Country race was confirmed

Sari leading the top group during the cross-country sprint race

Hibari's powerful skiing in the giant slalom in the Alpine category


Sari Furuya, Cross Country (center)

Born in Hokkaido. Graduated from Hokkaido Kutchan High School. 4th year, School of Sport Sciences. Her nicknames are Camera Kid and Gundam. She describes herself as a charismatic hairdresser. "I cut my teammates' hair in the training room at the dormitory, though I have no qualifications (laughing)."

Michiko Kashiwabara, Cross Country

Born in Nagano Prefecture. Graduated from Nagano Prefectural Iiyamaminami High School. 4th year, School of Sport Sciences. In 2012, she was recognized as a Recipient of the Award for Distinguished Service to Sports by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. She is a devoted fan of the Japanese pop group, EXILE. I went to an EXILE gig with Sari, and I was so moved that I cried and fell down. It was unreal (laughing)."

Hibari Sanada, Alpine (left)

Born in Nagano Prefecture. Graduated from Hokusho High School. 3rd year, School of Sport Sciences. Her interest includes visiting hot springs, finding good-looking boys and spending time at the ocean. "Once I was just looking at the ocean at Odaiba, and found myself sleeping for three hours without noticing (laughing)."