Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Sports / Top News

Japanese luger Kobayashi already eyeing redemption

China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-17 07:46
Share - WeChat
Seiya Kobayashi of Japan in action, in Beijing, on Feb 5, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

Seiya Kobayashi returned from Beijing 2022 in disappointment, but as the only luger in Japan's largest overseas Winter Olympic delegation, he has already set his sights on a medal at future Games.

"I am not satisfied with my performance in Beijing," said the 20-year-old, who finished a distant 34th place in the men's individual event in his first Winter Olympics. "I was too nervous and made too many mistakes."

Kobayashi grew up in Iizuna Machi, Nagano. Like most children in Nagano, the 1998 Winter Olympics host city, he enjoyed skiing and snowboarding. But when he was in fifth grade at elementary school, he was enticed onto the sliding track by luge's adrenalin-filled thrills.

"It is faster and more fun than skiing and snowboarding," he said.

Kobayashi comes across as a shy and reserved character, but beneath his introverted appearance lies a brave heart.

Luge is often considered the fastest sport at the Winter Olympics, with riders hitting speeds of up to 140 kilometers per hour.

"It is a dangerous sport," said Kobayashi's coach, Toshiro Masaki, who finished 12th at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. In a career spanning nearly two decades, Masaki suffered injuries to his face, ankles, elbows, knees and back.

Kobayashi said most of his childhood luge friends have given up the sport because of injuries.

"I am the only one persisting," he said.

Masaki, also the luge coaching director of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC), said there are only about 20 lugers across the nation.

Kobayashi's mother always feels especially worried about his safety before a major competition. However, she was extremely proud of her son when he was picked for the Japan team and suddenly became the center of attention in Iizuna Machi.

"I became a celebrity overnight in my town," the luger said.

Kobayashi missed the opening ceremony at Beijing's National Stadium because his competition took place the following day.

"I had to give priority to the race," he said. "But I was enjoying the Beijing Winter Olympics very much, and these experiences will benefit me in the future."

Kobayashi, who is studying at a sports school in Nagano, is already back in training and is even looking beyond the next Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina, Italy.

"I hope to achieve good results at the 2030 Olympic Winter Games," he said. "Hopefully I can win a medal there."

Sapporo, his coach Masaki's hometown, is a front-runner to host the 2030 Games.


Most Popular


What's Hot
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349