Skip to main content

Paralympic Medalist Shinya Wada Runs 3-Minute Half Marathon Best: "I Have to Believe in My Potential"

http://www.sankei.com/smp/west/news/170126/wst1701260031-s1.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics marathoner and 2012 London Paralympics bronze medalist Shinya Wada, 39, ran in the Jan. 29 Osaka Half Marathon that was held at the same time as the Osaka International Women's Marathon.  With the Tokyo Olympics coming onto the horizon just three years distant his goal was to take his 1:14:29 half marathon best down to the 1:10 level.

At December's Fukuoka International Marathon Wada ran 2:32:11, breaking his own T11 category (fully blind) Japanese national record by 1:35.  Wada also holds the T11 national records on the track for 800 m, 1500 m, 5000 m and 10000 m.  At the London Paralympics he won bronze in the 5000 m. In Rio he finished in the top eight in the 1500 m, the 5000 m, and, in the T12 category (use of a guide runner optional), the marathon.  Despite such success, Wada feels pressure.  "Athletes from other countries keep producing better and better times," he said.  "Next time in Tokyo they'll be even better, and there will be new athletes too."

A passionate rugby player in his youth, Wada was diagnosed with a progressive retinal degeneration disorder while at Ikuno High School and lost his sight entirely his third year at Kansai University.  When he was 28 a friend introduced to him to the Kamogawa Partners visually impaired running team in Kyoto, a moment that marked his beginning of his career in athletics. Initially his goal was simply to overcome a lack of exercise, but his talent was soon revealed and by 2009 he had been designated a high-potential developmental athlete by the Japan Blind Marathon Association.  He currently works in the Osaka Prefectural Blind and Social Welfare Association's braille library in Osaka's Tennoji ward, working on braille transcription and transliteration while spending his free time refining running that seems unaffected by his age.

This year marked Wada's third time running the Osaka Half, back after a two-year absence.  Building toward April's 2017 World Para-Athletics Marathon World Cup in London, he set his target time at 1:10.  Falling just short of that mark, he took nearly three minutes off his PB with an official time of 1:11:37. "When I lost my eyesight I never imagined that I'd be able to run," he said. "Being able to move like this helps me feel better.  "I hope that my running can be the trigger to do something positive for anyone whose spirit has been broken by the loss of their sight."

Wada's future goals include the T11 marathon world record of 2:31:59 and making the Tokyo Paralympics team three years from now.  "I have to believe in my potential and take on my dreams," he said.  "I want today's me to be better than yesterday's me, and tomorrow's me better still. To definitively overcome my past.  For that to happen I have to make a great leap forward over the next year or two."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Takamatsu Makes Return to Racing After Nike Oregon Project Disappointment

Running again in her hometown on the second day of the Osaka Track and Field Championships at Yanmar Stadium Nagai, 2014 Youth Olympics girls' 3000 m gold medalist Nozomi Musembi Takamatsu (19, Osaka T&F Assoc.) took the first step toward a comeback. Closing the gap to the runner ahead of her on the second lap, Takamatsu finished with effort to spare in 2:14.51 for 2nd. "I was able to run the way I'd envisioned," she said afterward. "I had some anxiety since it was pretty much my first real race in a year but I was able to give it my best."

After graduating from Osaka Kunei Joshi Gakuin H.S. in the spring last year Takamatsu moved to Oregon, U.S.A. to take part in the "Nike Oregon Project" elite long distance group created by Nike. With a dream of winning gold in the 5000 m or 10000 m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and high hopes in her heart, she crossed the ocean.

But in the U.S. she was hit by the cold hand of reality. "I was DFL every ti…

Kim Sets Korean 5000 m National Record, Tsuetaki Clears Steeple Standard, Osako Comes Up Short - Abashiri Highs and Lows

The final meet in Japan's Hokuren Distance Challenge series, Thursday's Abashiri meet was set up to give people one last chance to clear the qualifying standards for next month's London World Championships ahead of the fast-approaching deadline. Temperatures were far above normal for northern Hokkaido through much of the day, the mid-afternoon peak reported at over 36C at the time of the men's 800 m A-heat and still at 25C at the start of the five standard-chasing races in the evening.

網走女子5000A https://t.co/GquthBd13K — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 13, 2017
The best race of the day was the women's 5000 m A-heat. With two women already confirmed for London the third spot on the team was up for grabs. First in line under the JAAF's criteria for addition, top three at Nationals and under the 15:22.00 standard, was 16-year-old Shuri Ogasawara (Yamanashi Gakuin H.S.), 3rd at Nationals in an U18 national record of 15:23.56. Next in line would be anyon…

Endo Breaks 3000 m Junior National Record in Kitami

Already the U18 national record holder for 3000 m, 18-year-old Hyuga Endo (Sumitomo Denko) stepped up with an U20 record in the men's 3000 m at the third meet in the Hokuren Distance Challenge series Sunday in Kitami, Hokkaido.

北見男子prj-A3000m陸連強化レース(ペースメーカーあり) https://t.co/8s96euEND3 — ホクレン・ディスタンスチャレンジ2017 (@hokurendc2017) July 9, 2017
The men's and women's 3000 m races on the program as a step toward Wednesday's fourth and final HDC meet in Abashiri where people will be shooting for last-minute London World Championships qualifying standards. With pacer Evans Keitany (Toyota Boshoku) targeting 7:55 the men's race came down to a sprint finish between Tetsuya Yoroizaka (Asahi Kasei), Takashi Ichida (Asahi Kasei) and Chiharu Nakagawa (Toenec) over the last lap. Yoroizaka dropped Ichida in the home straight to win in 7:52.70, the fastest-ever 3000 m time by a Japanese man on Japanese soil and one that made him all-time #10 in the Japanese record books. Closing fast, …