POSTED: Saturday August 11th 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Youth Olympic Games Double Champ Looks to the Future
London, 11 August 2012 - Koki Niwa, Japan’s young table tennis phenomenon who won two gold medals in the inaugural Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games as a 15-year-old, has much to look forward to after reaching the quarterfinals of the Men’s Team Table Tennis competition at the London 2012 Games. Born on October 10, exactly 30 years after the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 1964 Games, Niwa, now 17, is already aiming for the Rio 2016 Games as this incredible experience in London brought him extraordinary motivation to his ultimate dream - to become an Olympic champion.
Niwa and his teammates Seiya Kishikawa and Jun Mizutani defeated Canada in the first round before their 3-2 defeat by the Hong Kong Team in the quarter finals.
Niwa 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.”
Tsunekazu Takeda, IOC Member and President of both the Japanese Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020, 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."
The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games proved hugely successful for the Japanese team, with 71 competitors in 16 sports earning 8 gold medals. The JOC, which is already preparing for the second Youth Olympic Games, is committed to helping young athletes experience the inspiration, motivation and excitement before meeting their ultimate challenge in the Olympic Games.
Niwa added: “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.”
Nanjing, China will host the second Youth Olympic Games from August 16-28, 2014, inviting athletes in 28 summer sports under the slogan “Olympics for the young, by the young.”
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Name: Masa Takaya
Organization: Japanese Olympic Committee
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