TOKYO: Basketball player Hachimura Rui and wrestler Susaki Yui have been named Japanese flag bearers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) has announced that the two stars will lead the host country’s team of 600 people at the Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on July 23.
For the first time in Olympic history, a male and female flag bearer from each participating country will take their place at the ceremony. Hachimura was born in Toyama Prefecture to a Japanese mother and a Beninese father and is a professional basketball player with the Washington Wizards in the United States. The 23-year-old was the first Japanese basketball player to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
He joined the Japanese national basketball team at the 2013 FIBA Asia U16 Championship in Iran, where he averaged 22.8 points, which put the team in third place. In a 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying round, Hachimura scored 25 points to help Japan defeat Iran 70-56.
“The Tokyo Olympics is the scene I always dreamed of,” Olympics.com said, citing the 6-foot-8 forward. “I am very honored to have such an important role. Your health and safety is our top priority at this time, but I hope that many people, including children from all over Japan, will take this opportunity to watch the show. performance of my teammates and myself across the country during the Olympics. It would be great if there were even more people interested in basketball and sports. “
Susaki Yui is a gold medal hopeful after being crowned two-time world champion in women’s wrestling – in 2017 (48 kg) and 2018 (50 kg). The 22-year-old, born in Chiba Prefecture, also won gold at the junior world championships in 50kg in 2018 and 2019 and as a teenager he was a three-time junior world champion. The sports science student from Waseda University in Tokyo will be among those to watch in the 50kg category at Tokyo 2020.
“When I was a kid I wanted the Olympics after watching Yoshida Saori [three-time Olympic champion from Japan]. In 2013, when I left my family and joined the JOC Elite Academy program, it was decided that the Olympic Games would be held in Tokyo, and I always wanted to win a gold medal. I am grateful to be able to step onto the Olympic stage under such circumstances, and I will do my best to fulfill the role entrusted to me. “
The JOC announced last week that sprinter Yamagata Ryota, 29, who holds the Japanese national record in the men’s 100 meters, will captain the Japanese team with table tennis player Ishikawa Kasumi, 28, as vice -captain.