POSTED: August 11th 2012
JOC: Rising tennis table star Niwa inspired by London 2012 and targeting Rio 2016
LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications
August 11 – Japanese tennis table Olympian, Koki Niwa, who took home two gold medals at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) as a 15-year-old was thrilled to compete for his country and reach the quarterfinals at London 2012. After this real first taste of Olympic competition, he can’t wait for Rio 2016.
Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid, said, "Niwa has had an impressive career thus far, including his breakthrough performance at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games where he won two gold medals. At the Olympic Games in London, he displayed his talents against the very best.
“Although still young, he is well on his way to becoming one of the world’s top table tennis players. I am confident he will collect numerous titles and medals for his country, and thereby inspire Japanese children to follow his example."
Niwa was born in 1994, 30 years after Tokyo ’64, and has now set his target on the Rio 2016 Games and hopefully for his home nation, Tokyo 2020, should they win the IOC nod to host the Games.
He said, “I had always dreamed of participating in the Olympics. The atmosphere is different from any other competition I've been in. The venues, the march-in, the motivation of the athletes, there is nothing like it.
“By having experienced the competition and life in the athletes’ village in Singapore, I felt like I belonged in London.”
“My performance was both positive and negative this time, but I absolutely want to compete again in four years.
“In the meantime there will be many World Table Tennis Championships and other international competitions, so I will test myself each time I compete. I want to earn a medal with my teammates, and I also really want to win a medal in the Olympics Singles competition.”
Niwa together with his teammates, Seiya Kishikawa and Jun Mizutani, defeated Canada in the first round but were later defeated 3-2 by the Hong Kong Team in the quarter finals.
The JOC had a successful experience with Singapore 2010 with 71 competitors in 16 sports earning 8 gold medals and they plan to bring a good contingent to Nanjing, China in 2014 for the next summer YOG.
For more information contact:
Laura Walden ()
All original materials contained in this section are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Sports Features Communications, Inc the owner of that content. It is prohibited to alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.