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ATHLETE

Meet the Athletes

Get to know the participating world-class athletes, and discover what makes each one of them superhuman.

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田中希美さんの写真
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KENTARO SATO

Born in Saitama in 1994. Men's 400m Japanese record holder (44.77 seconds). He started running at Toyooka High School in Saitama Prefecture, and after graduating from Josai University, he joined Fujitsu. He competed in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020. He has competed in four World Championships in Athletics since Beijing 2015, where he first competed at age 20. In July 2023, he won a gold medal at the Asian Championships, recording 45.00 seconds, the second fastest time in Japan's history. At the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships in August, he recorded 44.77 seconds, surpassing the Japanese record of 0.01 seconds, which had not been broken for 32 years. He is an ace athlete in the Japanese short distance world and expected to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the World Athletics Championships Tokyo 25.

Born in Saitama in 1994. Men's 400m Japanese record holder (44.77 seconds). He started running at Toyooka High School in Saitama Prefecture, and after graduating from Josai University, he joined Fujitsu. He competed in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020. He has competed in four World Championships in Athletics since Beijing 2015, where he first competed at age 20. In July 2023, he won a gold medal at the Asian Championships, recording 45.00 seconds, the second fastest time in Japan's history. At the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championships in August, he recorded 44.77 seconds, surpassing the Japanese record of 0.01 seconds, which had not been broken for 32 years. He is an ace athlete in the Japanese short distance world and expected to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the World Athletics Championships Tokyo 25.

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Kentaro Hayase and Kumi Hayase

Right: Kentaro Hayase Born 1973 in Nara Prefecture. He placed 6th in the men's sprint cycling at the Samsung 2017 Deaflympics. He runs Hayase Dojo, a cram school in Yokohama. He is active in various fields as a sign language entertainer, such as working as a film director.

Left: Kumi Hayase Born in Oita Prefecture in 1975. She won three consecutive medals with a silver medal in the women's mountain bike cycling. She was the leader of the Japanese team at the Samsung 2017 Games. She became the first Deaf person to become a pharmacist in 2001 due to a change in the law.

Right: Kentaro Hayase Born 1973 in Nara Prefecture. He placed 6th in the men's sprint cycling at the Samsung 2017 Deaflympics. He runs Hayase Dojo, a cram school in Yokohama. He is active in various fields as a sign language entertainer, such as working as a film director.

Left: Kumi Hayase Born in Oita Prefecture in 1975. She won three consecutive medals with a silver medal in the women's mountain bike cycling. She was the leader of the Japanese team at the Samsung 2017 Games. She became the first Deaf person to become a pharmacist in 2001 due to a change in the law.

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Kentaro Sato, Athletics – After 32 Years, Japanese Record Shattered: ‘Star of the 400m’ Soars Globally with Remarkable “Reproduction Skills”

At the Budapest 2023 World Championships in August 2023, the hands of a clock that had stood still for 32 years moved. Kentaro Sato, who competed in the men's 400m preliminaries, clocked 44.77 seconds, 0.01 seconds faster than the 44.78 seconds clocked by Susumu Takano in the 1991 Japan Championships final and the oldest Japanese track record in the event. Sato, who began competing in track and field only after entering high school, uses his lucid mind and his ability to "reproduce" based on experience as his weapons. In his private life, the 29-year-old likes to go stargazing. Japan's "400m star" is looking forward to making further progress on the world stage.

Kentaro Hayase and Kumi Hayase, Deaf Cycling | “Fear Failure, but don’t Hesitate to Challenge” Reaching the Summit at the Deaflympics

Kentaro and Kumi Hayase are a married couple who have represented Japan in three consecutive Deaf Cycling Games since the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics. Both started competing after the age of 30. Kumi-san has medaled in three Games (one silver and two bronze), and Kentaro-san came close to a medal at the Samsung 2017 Deaflympics, finishing in sixth place. While working as athletes, the two have also pursued other careers. Kumi-san is the first deaf pharmacist in Japan, and Kentaro-san runs a cram school for the deaf and also works as a film director. We asked these two "two-talents" and "three-talents" about their thoughts on the Deaflympics and their personal lives.

Takuya Okada, Deaf Soccer – Japanese Ace Shines as World Cup MVP, Aiming for World No.1 with Twin Brother

At the 4th World Deaf Football Championship (Deaf Soccer World Cup) held from September 23 to October 7, 2023, the Japanese men's national team achieved its best ever finish of second place. Takuya Okada, who scored seven goals and was named MVP of the tournament, was a key player in this success. His dribbling skills and physicality, as well as his exceptional decisiveness, have taken the world by storm. His twin brother, Yuya Okada, is also a key player in Japan's national team. We asked this Deaf Soccer ace to talk about his thoughts on the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics and the current Japanese national team.

Sumire Hata, Athletics – Breaking the Japanese record in the long jump for the first time in 17 years. Aiming for the unknown realm of “over 7 meters,” she challenges her own limits.

On July 14, 2023, the history of the Japanese track and field world was set in motion. Sumire Hata, competing in the women's long jump at the Asian Athletics Championships in Thailand, set a new Japanese record of 6m97cm. This is the first time in 17 years that she has achieved such a feat. Aiming to exceed 7m, which is an unknown field for a Japanese woman, she has a unique background in that she switched to long jump after becoming a working member of society. We interviewed this jumper about her approach to the record and her thoughts on the World Athletics Championships Tokyo 25.

Maki Yamada, Deaf Athletics -Dual Role of “Athlete” and “Performer”. Wants to win the gold medal again in Tokyo.

Maki Yamada has two faces: one is an athlete. He won gold medals in the 200m Athletics and 4x100m Relay at the Samsung 2017 Deaflympics and is aiming for the top again at the Tokyo 2025 Deaflympics. The other is as a performer. He has been involved in pantomime since he was a child, and in May 2023 he will be performing in a play. We asked Yamada-san about his thoughts on "athletics" and "performer”.