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Kiryu Reveals He Has Ulcerative Colitis, Plans to Make Comeback Next Season


The first Japanese man to break 10 seconds for 100 m, sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu (26, Nihon Seimei), announced on Sept. 29 that he plans to make a comeback after having taken time off since June's National Championships. In a video on Youtube, Kiryu revealed that for a long time he has been suffering from ulcerative colitis, a longterm disease that causes internal pain and bloody defecation. He indicated that he plans to return to racing next season, saying, "I want to enjoy it again."

Kiryu ran 9.98 for 100 m in 2017, the first time a Japanese had ever broken the 10 second barrier. He said that the pressure and weight of expectations of him making it to the 9-second level had been a burden he had struggled to deal with. The stress began to affect him in during his second year at Toyo University in 2015. At times the bleeding was so bad that he was taking ten different pills a day in treatment. "At one point I thought my life as an athlete was over," he said.

Kiryu said that winning the 4x100 m silver medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics was a turning point. "It had been a long time since anyone had praised me," he said. "It was something that really changed my life." In June this year Kiryu had announced that he was "taking a break until I feel like competing in athletics again." He is now positive about that time off, saying, "It was a good rest period." Asked about the 9.95 national record held by Ryota Yamagata (Seiko), Kiryu said, "I still want to go one better than that guy."

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translated by Brett Larner

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