translated and edited by Brett Larner
photo by Dr. Helmut Winter
Two weeks ago, with no doubt in his voice, Fujiwara told his former coach by phone, "I'm going to run 2:07. I'm going to London." Matsumoto travelled to Tokyo to see the race, watching near the 30 km point. When he saw Fujiwara in pursuit of the leaders he shouted out, "Keep going! Keep going!" at the top of his voice. Right after the race Fujiwara called him, almost exploding with energy as he said, "Coach! I did it!"
Two years ago Fujiwara quit the JR Higashi Nihon corporate team. He signed a contract with a Japanese manager and sports equipment manufacturer, but after firing the manager last spring he terminated the relationship with the sponsor in October after they failed to pay him. Now, Matsumoto believes, Fujiwara is set for the Olympics. "I admire him for achieving this on his own. It shows his strength of mind," said Matsumoto.
Isahaya mayor Akio Miyamoto gave Fujiwara exceptional praise, saying, "If he is named to the Olympic team he will follow gymnast Kohei Uchimura and race walker Koichiro Morioka to become Isahaya's third Olympian. The way he advanced in pursuit of the lead in the final stage of the race was superb and deeply moved all the citizens of Isahaya."
photo (c) 2012 Dr. Helmut Winter
all rights reserved