translated by Brett Larner
At a Tokyo-area press conference on May 4 promoting the May 5 Seiko Golden Grand Prix Tokyo track and field meet at Tokyo's National Stadium, the new star of the men's 100 m, Yoshihide Kiryu (17, Rakunan H.S.), appeared confident before his shot at the first Japanese men's sub-10 clocking, revealing that his mental keywords ahead of the race are "fun" and "second half."
At the April 29 Oda Memorial Meet Kiryu ran 10.01, the all-time second-fastest Japanese men's time and both tying the world junior record and clearing the Japanese Federation's criteria for the Moscow World Championships team. "That time surprised me too," said Kiryu. "but I've gotten myself together mentally and I'm ready to take on this race."
Having reviewed videos of his race at home he feels that he now understands what he needs to do to achieve a 9-second clocking. The first point he brought up was improving the second half of his race. "The start and the middle part of the race were good, but in the second half I lost power in my stride," he said. "I was too conscious of the finish line and leaned 10 meters too soon. My goal this time is to stay focused straight ahead." By raising his line of focus he plans to run through the line and believes that will allow him to hit his time goal.
Kiryu also places importance on his mental state. "I always enjoy my running and get good times as a result, so this time I want to go out there and have some fun when I run," he said. "If I stay relaxed I think I'll run a fast time." Tokyo will be his first time racing foreign competition, but even so Kiryu was confident and self-composed at the press conference, without stress, anxiety or aggression but hopeful and looking forward to the main event. Asked about what foreign athletes he would most like to race, the high school senior brought up 9.58 world record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Joining Bolt sub-10 is only the first step on the road to Kiryu achieving his dreams. "I want to run a faster time than I did at the Oda Memorial Meet," he said. "I'm ready to put myself into making that happen."
Yoshihide Kiryu: Born Dec. 15, 1995 in Hikone, Shiga. 17 years old. Senior at Rakunan H.S. in Kyoto. Played goalkeeper on his elementary school's soccer team but began running as a first-year at Rakunan J.H.S. At last October's Gifu National Sports Festival 100 m set a world youth record of 10.21, then improved that to 10.19 in November. 175 cm, 68 kg. Lives with his parents and older brother.
Click here for the IAAF's preview of the the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet. TBS will broadcast the Golden Grand Prix Tokyo meet live from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Overseas viewers should be able to watch online via Keyhole TV. Oscar Fernandez reports that there will be overseas streams available here and here as well.