Japanese indoor rowers part of Tokyo Olympics quest
The Japanese Indoor Rowing Championships in Seta, Japan was used as a stepping stone for attracting more athletes into rowing as Japan readies itself for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The event attracted 830 rowers - a 15 per cent increase from 2014 and making it the largest indoor rowing event in Japan.
Attending the event to help inspire Japanese rowers were Dutch international rowers Meindert Klem and Jasper Tissen. Tissen, who raced in the Dutch under-23 men's eight last year, won the men's elite event in a time of 6:03.0 and two-time Olympian Klem came second with 6:14.2. Tissen showed a noticeable power difference from the Japanese and impressed the crowd in the arena. The best of Japanese was Shogo Fushimi of Okayama University with 6:19.0.
In the women's elite section, Kyoko Kazusa of Kobe University showed her consistent performance and finished with 7:16.0.
For Klem and Tissen the journey to Japan was about more than the indoor rowing competition. They stayed in the Seta area for two weeks attending a rowing camp with top Japanese rowers from the region. During the camp, training lectures by Dutch rowers for young student rowers and several time trials on the water were coordinated. Their visit encouraged Japanese rowers to reach higher levels with their sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games .
During the indoor rowing championships the Japan Rowing Association (JARA) used it as an opportunity to look for talented athletes by using a bike-type ergometer. Rowers and athletes from other sports participated in the event to look for their opportunities to be Olympians in Tokyo. JARA is planning a series of events across Japan to look for potential competitive rowers.
During the indoor rowing event, the governor of Shiga prefecture Taizo Mikazuki visited as well as the city councilor of Otsu city Isao Okumura who was former champion in the All Japan Rowing Championships and is currently the chairman of Shiga Rowing Association.
Mikazuki and Okumura understand that Seta is a potential training camp location for teams leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and both Mikazuki and Okumura added their support to it.
Chief event organiser of the Seta Rowing Club Taiji Uchida is eager to increase the number of rowing camps in the region and the next event has already been scheduled for 17 January 2016.
“Next year will be Olympic year and then it will be four years until the Tokyo Olympic Games. We would like to increase international interactions to help boost the motivations of Japanese rowers," said Uchida. "As the governor mentioned in his support, we believe that the Seta area can be for a possible site for pre-Olympic training camps just before Tokyo Olympic Games, and we would like to work for it.”
Copy thanks to Motoki Kyo, Seta Rowing Club