translated by Brett Larner
At a Sumitomo Denko men's corporate team press conference in Osaka, Yasuyuki Watanabe, 41, who took over as the team's head coach at the start of this month, vowed to make eliminating injury among the athletes under his guidance one of the key themes of his tenure as head coach. Having seen his own career cut short by an Achilles tendon injury while still in his 20s, Watanabe told the media that he wants to tailor his coaching to suit the needs and abilities of the individual athletes, saying, "In Japan we train on the roads and run a lot of races. It is critical that we reduce the risk of injury to nearly zero. I want to make it so that athletes can train 365 days a year." Sumitomo Denko president Masayoshi Matsumoto commented, "Ekidens are interesting but not a worldwide event. Japan has become like the Galapagos." Matsumoto indicated his commitment to entrusting Watanabe with the task of developing world-class athletes through a "de-ekiden principle."