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Athletic Ambition
パラ陸上・高桑選手 0.1秒でも速く

20180825_250 Athlete Takakuwa Saki, 26, has high ambitions. The 2020 Tokyo Paralympics will start in two years' time, and Takakuwa is determined to win a medal as a proud member of Team Japan.

"Anybody can do things like run or jump, but the point of sports is to take those things to their absolute limits," she says of what attracts her to athletics.

Takakuwa developed bone cancer in her left leg, and had to have it amputated when she was 13. At first, she thought athletics was impossible with one leg. But she took up track in high school after seeing athletes sprinting on artificial legs and thinking how "cool" they were.

Since then, Takakuwa has set a Japan record of 13.43 seconds in the 100 meters, and took bronze in the long jump at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships. She made it to the finals at the two previous Paralympics, but did not win a medal. She says she wants "to be stronger."

Takakuwa is hoping for a place on the Tokyo 2020 podium in the long jump, and a 100-meter time in the 12-second range. She needs to shave just 0.4 seconds off her personal best to reach that goal, but "a difference of 0.4 seconds is a difference of 4 meters. That's enough to have you looking at your competitor's back," she explains.

The sprinter is making various adjustments to close that gap. One is to cover as much ground as possible in a 20 second burst. After countless reps, Takakuwa can now cover 20 meters more than when she first started the exercise. That means she is moving about a meter per second faster than before.

Takakuwa has also adjusted the position of her artificial leg in 0.5-degree increments to find the best angle. If she can lengthen her stride by just a centimeter per step, that adds up to 60 centimeters per race. She spends every day like this, trying minute changes to shave her time down by tenths of a second.

Takakuwa is also deeply involved in promoting Paralympic sports. "It's said that the word 'Paralympics' was coined at the (1964) Tokyo Games. I want to raise awareness about parasports with the Tokyo Games coming up," she says. (Story and photo by Yoshinaga Yasuo, related story on page 4)

[本文 - 385 words]

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【KEYWORDS】

athletic 陸上競技の、運動選手の(後出 athletics は陸上競技)

ambition 大志、目標

bone cancer 骨肉腫

amputate 切断する

sprint 疾走する(後出 sprinter は短距離走者)

artificial leg 義足

second 秒(後出 tenth of a second は10分の1秒)

long jump 走り幅跳び

IPC Athletics World Championships 国際パラリンピック委員会が創設した陸上世界選手権のこと

podium 表彰台

shave off 削る(後出 shave down も同意)

competitor 競走相手

burst 一気に走ること

rep (ここでは)反復練習(後出 exercise は練習)

~ -degree increments ~度ずつ(後出 angle は角度)

stride 歩幅

minute 細かい

coin 造り出す

games 五輪のこと

週刊英語学習紙 毎日ウィークリーのサイト 「Mainichi Weekly」

Aug 24, 2018 1面 |