POSTED: July 13th 2012
Tokyo 2020: Earthquake athlete beats all odds to make London 2012 team
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
July 13 – The Japanese Modern Pentathlon Association today announced their team for the London Games including 2 women for the first time but most important one of them overcame setbacks from the earthquake and tsunami last year to score her Olympic berth.
Narumi Kurosu and team member Shino Yamanaka made the roster but it was Kurosu, a native of Ibaraki, who almost saw her Olympic dream washed away last March when disaster struck.
Kurosu owes her good fortune to South Korea and experienced trainer, Jung Chil Park, who reached out to her in solidarity when her training facilities were severely damaged last year to train with him. Japan has only about 100 people practicing Modern Pentathlon a sport combining pistol shooting, fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3km cross-country run. Kurosu dreamed of competing at the Games, a goal that had eluded her pentathlete father.
Just ten days after the disaster struck she was already in South Korea doing gruelling nine-hour daily training sessions with male pentathlon athletes and getting a crash course in Korean.
Kurosu said, "By going to South Korea, I was able to train together with top athletes and grow mentally, and I've been producing better results since. I really look forward to competing in London, and I definitely want to put on a good show for the people of Ibaraki, as the place has been my home ever since I was born."
With his help she secured a spot on the Japanese national team at May's Asia Oceania Championships 2011 in Chengdu, China. Her story will inspire young athletes back home as she competes in the London Games.
This great story of solidarity and sportsmanship once again shows how sport connects diverse cultures and empowers people to overcome challenges. This is also a message that the Tokyo 2020 bid would like to promote through their campaign.
Kurosu also is a supporter of the Tokyo 2020 bid and said, "I would absolutely love for Tokyo to host the 2020 Games. Without a doubt it would be an amazing experience to win a medal in my home country."
Modern Pentathlon will celebrate 100 years at the Games as competitions take place on August 11 and 12, for men and women respectively, at three different Olympic venues: Copper Box for fencing; the Aquatic Centre for swimming; and Greenwich Park for riding and the combined event (running and shooting).
Tokyo is competing against Istanbul and Madrid to host the summer Olympics of 2020. A final decision will be taken September 7th in 2013 at the Buenos Aires IOC session.
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