Takara to take part in Deaflympics

Takara to take part in Deaflympics

On June 4, at the Ryukyu Shimpo newspaper company building in Ameku, Naha, Miki Takara, who will take part in the Deaflympics, said, "I want to win the gold medal."


June 5, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

From July 26 in Sofia, Bulgaria, the International Olympic Committee will hold the Summer Deaflympics, in which deaf athletes compete at an elite level. Miki Takara, from Tomigusuku and a senior at Shikoku Gakuin University, will represent Japan in volleyball.

This is the first time for a female athlete from Okinawa to participate in this sport.
The Japanese team won the final of the Asian Games, which were held as a preliminary round for the Deaflympics. Takara is a setter in the team. On June 4, she visited the Ryukyu Shimpo to give an interview. Using sign language Takara said, “I’ll go out on the court feeling grateful to all those people who have supported me, and I want to bring back a gold medal.”

Takara is the shortest in her team at 152 centimeters, but she can toss the ball up well in attack and is quick and precise in her movements. She is one of the team’s key players. Her team took part in the world championships held in Bulgaria last August and was placed fifth.

Takara was born hearing impaired. She started playing volleyball when she was in the first grade at Tomigusuku Junior High School. “My seniors forced me to join the club,” said Takara with a smile. After she started to play the sport she came to like it.

Most of her teammates had played since elementary school and the practices were tough. However, her teammates helped her with one-to-one extra practices after the team meetings. “I appreciate all the help I had from my friends. Volleyball has taught me about some of the key physical and mental aspects of life.”

After entering the Okinawa Prefectural School for Hearing-Impaired Children, Takara joined the Okinawa Prefectural Hearing-Impaired Person Association Women’s Volleyball Club. She then went on to Shikoku Gakuin University in Kagawa Prefecture. Twice a month Takara has a three-hour bus ride to meet up with the team in Hyogo Prefecture. She wants to further improve her skills by working out in the gym every day.

Takara said, “I play volleyball out of gratitude to those who have supported me along the way.”

She said, “I will try to catch every ball and toss the ball up well for us on attack. I am looking forward to the Deaflympics.”

About 2,500 people from 77 countries took part in the 2009 Summer Deaflympics.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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