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Queen of the Table
卓球・石川佳純選手「日々の積み重ねを大事に」

20180929_250 "I look smaller than when I'm on TV, don't I?" table tennis star Ishikawa Kasumi says with a laugh.

Ishikawa, ranked No. 4 in the world, is 158 centimeters tall. It is with this physique that she has raked in dozens of medals in international competitions — including a gold in the mixed doubles at the 2017 world championships.

Ishikawa spoke with the Mainichi Weekly in late August after returning from Europe, where she had just won two competitions in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. She has undergone tough training to reach her position, but she revealed that competition can also be mentally demanding.

"Practice is really hard," says the 25-year-old. "But the feeling of losing a match is even harder to endure."

Ishikawa's parents both played table tennis, and she grew up watching their games, which naturally piqued her interest in the sport. For her seventh birthday, they bought her a uniform. "I was elated and started playing," she recalls.

It took only three months for Ishikawa to show a hint of talent by passing a qualifier in her native Yamaguchi Prefecture for young players in the All Japan Table Tennis Championships. She points out modestly that "there aren't many players in Yamaguchi Prefecture" — but much success followed.

As Ishikawa captured public attention, she was dubbed "Ai-chan II," after Fukuhara Ai. "I was glad to be called that, but at the same time I felt ashamed, because I doubted whether I was really worthy to be compared to her," Ishikawa says.

She now participates in about a dozen international competitions annually and has made two Olympic appearances: London 2012, where she claimed a silver medal in the women's team event, and Rio de Janeiro 2016, where she won a bronze medal in the same event.

With less than two years until the Tokyo Games, Ishikawa now has her eyes set on an Olympic gold.

"A long succession of practices is the most important thing, and spending each and every day practicing will enable me to do my best in the Tokyo Olympics," Ishikawa says. "I believe luck will follow if you make an effort."

(Story and photo by Kasama Tatsuma, related story on page 10)

[本文 - 365 words]

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【KEYWORDS】

physique 体格

rake in ~ ~を獲得する(後出 claim ~ も同意)

competition 大会

mixed doubles (男女)混合ダブルス

win 優勝する(後出は獲得する)

undergo 耐える(後出 endure も同意)

reveal 明かす

demanding きつい

match 試合

pique そそる

(be) elated 大喜びする

a hint of talent 才能の片りん

qualifier 予選

All ... Championships 全日本卓球選手権大会

modestly 謙虚に

capture 得る

(be) dubbed ~ ~と呼ばれる

after ~ ~にちなんで

feel ashamed 恥ずかしい

doubt 疑問に思う

(be) worthy to ~ ~する価値がある

participate 参戦する

team event 団体種目

have one's eyes set on ~ ~に目標を定める

succession 継続

【写真説明】ward 区

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

Sep 28, 2018 1面 |