Brunel plays host to the stars of Japanese athletics this week, as the country’s national team prepares for August’s IAFF World Championships in London.
In their last week of training before the event, some two dozen athletes, their coaches, and other support staff led by Japan’s Director of High Performance Koji Ito and Track and Field Director Kazuhiko Yamazaki – both former Olympians – are making use of Brunel’s world-class sports facilities and onsite accommodation.
On Monday 31 July, the team were formally welcomed to the university by Brunel’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Julia Buckingham, Head of Sport Mark Burgess, Sports Partnership and Development Manager Richard Ashe and colleagues, before starting their first training session.
Japan is one of the world’s strongest sporting nations. Winning a total of 41 medals, including 12 gold at last year’s Rio Olympics, they finished sixth in the medal table. Tokyo is currently preparing to host the next Summer Olympics in 2020.
Asuka Cambridge, Yoshihide Kiryū and Shōta Iizuka – members of the Olympic silver medal-winning men’s 4x100m relay team – and fellow sprinters Shuhei Tada and Kenji Fujimitsu, were among athletes from the men’s team to hit Brunel’s running track today.
The team at Brunel also includes 400m national champion Takamasa Kitagawa; national 100m and 200m champion and IAAF World Youth Championships double gold medal winner Abdul Hakim Sani Brown; triple jumper Ryoma Yamamoto, pole vaulters Seito Yamamoto and Hiroki Ogita; and hurdlers Ryo Kajiki, Yusuke Ishida, Takatoshi Abe, Hideki Omuro, Genta Masuno and Shunya Takayama.
Richard Ashe comments: "Brunel’s reputation as having some of the finest athletics facilities in the UK with on campus accommodation is a major factor in why we attract some of the world’s best athletes to the University every year.
"Having an illustrious sporting nation such as Japan choose Brunel as its preferred destination as a pre-World Championship training base is credited to Brunel’s continued investment in our sporting facilities. We pride ourselves on being one of the leading UK universities when it comes to sport and having world class facilities is a key driver in maintaining that status both here in the UK and across the world.
"We would like to wish our friends from the Japanese Athletics Federation every success in the upcoming London World Athletics Championships."
Brunel’s state-of-the-art sports facilities, including the running track, 300-seater sports hall, gym, and extensive playing fields, are regularly used by some of the biggest names in athletics as they prepare for major events.
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Sarah Cox, Media Relations