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Creating a New Record at the National Championship!
Aiming to Be Student Champion Again.

Ayano Ebihara

Just half a year after entering Waseda University, Ayano Ebihara achieved victory out of nowhere in the Fall of her first year at the intercollegiate championship (the National Intercollegiate Rifle Shooting Championship). It is the first major achievement by a female member of the Waseda University Rifle Shooting Club since its founding. Although Ebihara believed future competitions would be smooth sailing, she has struggled to achieve satisfying results since. Analyzing her issues, Ebihara says, “I’m a bit of an all-or-nothing kind of person. Sometimes I just suddenly get high scores and win, but I really need to improve my skills further and become able to achieve consistent high scores.” One is impressed by her thoroughly objective evaluation of herself.

The Waseda University Rifle Shooting Club possesses close to 90 years of history. Practice is held at Higashifushimi Campus. Many members enter competitions for their first time in university.
©Waseda Sports Press

Asking how Ebihara approaches competitions, one gets the impression that hers is a little different from your average athlete. Her reason for becoming absorbed in rifle shooting in the first place is also unique. “I’ve never been a very cooperative type, and I’ve always disliked team sports. And then I found rifle shooting. You can do it at your own pace and competitions are over an hour long, so you can think about all sorts of things while you are shooting, which is also something that suits me.” During competitions, Ebihara “plays by herself” in her head, refining her ideas for her hobbies of drawing and oil painting and daydreaming about various things.

Ebihara may have a unique outlook on rifle shooting, but her dislike of losing and the strict training she underwent in high school have turned her into a top rifle shooter. She even achieved victory at the national championship in her last match in high school. After graduating, she entered Waseda University, in part because her shooting coach had attended Waseda. “I was able to win the intercollegiate championship right after entering university, but my performance afterwards often dipped and I still have performance ‘waves.’ Whether I’m doing good or doing bad, there’s nothing to do but keep shooting, so I’m continuing to practice without being in any particular rush.”

Her years of quiet practice suddenly blossomed in October of last year at the national championship. Appearing as the representative of her home Ibaraki Prefecture, she achieved victory in both the standing and prone categories of the 10 m 40 shot division. Her participation in the prone category marked a new Japanese record. “It was then that I noticed that I should just calmly shoot as if I were tearing the pages off of a daily calendar. Not alternating between happiness and sadness with each shot and just quickly changing gears even when I make a mistake. Since I started thinking like this, I’ve slowly seen my scores get better.”

Ebihara’s current goal is to get consistent scores and participate in the selection for Japan’s national team. Ebihara someday wants to represent Japan and take in the sights of an international rifle competition. “Rifle shooting is what led me to Waseda University. Being able to take history classes, which I really enjoy, at university and meet new friends through my club are also thanks to rifle shooting. I believe that rifle shooting will continue to lead me to many places around the world in the future.”

A stepping stone on this journey, the East Japan Intercollegiate Rifle Shooting Championship, will be held next month. If Ebihara is able to shoot in the relaxed way she did at the national championship, the results should naturally follow. Where will Ebihara’s rifle shooting take her in the future?

A rifle range for small bore rifle competitions using gunpowder.

Wearing shooting glasses to help take aim during competitions.

Rifle shooting competitions last over an hour. Contestants continue to calmly shoot at their targets during that time.


Ayano Ebihara
(3rd Year, School of Sport Sciences)

Originally from Ibaraki, Ayano Ebihara graduated from Ryugasaki Daiichi Senior High School. Influenced by her father’s love of survival games, she began participating in rifle competitions in high school. Her hobbies include drawing and oil painting, which she has continued since childhood. Her goal this year is to be selected for the Universiade.