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【Athletes】27th Championships(1) Tsuji (100m) Is First Woman in Japan to Break 13 Seconds

para-Athletics Japan Championships, to decide the No.1 athletes in Japan in para-athletics, was held at the Coca-Cola West Sports Park in Tottori on April 30 and May 1. The 27th championships, an event recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), were designated one of the qualifying trials for the Rio Paralympics in September. Athletes vying to qualify for the Paralympics trained to ensure they were in peak shape for the Tottori championships. They exhibited heated performances that resulted in one world record, three Asian records, and more than 20 Japanese records in two days. The official announcement by Japan Para Athletics (JPA) of the athletes who will represent Japan will be after the last qualifying trial in June, but the results of the Tottori championships bode well for Japan’s chances in Rio.

Outstanding Performance by Women in Limb Deficiency and Impairment Classes

Tsuji (second from the right), and other athletes praising each other’s performance

The rush of new records began with the women’s 100m race in the limb deficiency and impairment classes. Sae Tsuji (T47; unilateral upper limb impairment) marked a new Japanese record in the 100m dash with a time of 12.86. She became the first Japanese female para-athlete to break the 13-second barrier. She said, “I’ve always been aiming to sprint at under 13 seconds, so I’m very happy.” Tsuji also won the 200m and 400m dashes.

Saki Takakuwa (T44; unilateral lower limb impairment), who raced in the same group as Tsuji, also renewed her own Japan record for the first time in two years with a time of 13.59. Even whilst winning her event, she said, “During winter, I focused, while running, solely on a stronger start. My record is still not good enough to guarantee myself a spot in the final race. I need to achieve a better time if I am to aim higher to capture a medal.”

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