Doctor joins handball team to pursue his dream

Doctor joins handball team to pursue his dream

On June 4, at the Konan High School gymnasium in Naha, previously a doctor, Shogo Nakamura takes on the challenge of the national league as a member of the Ryukyu Corazon. (Photograph by Tetsuzo Tokeshi.)

June 6, 2013 Noriko Oshiro of Ryukyu Shimpo

A doctor has joined the ranks of Japan’s top handball players. Shogo Nakamura, 30, from Iwate Prefecture, has passed the tryout for Ryukyu Corazon, a team in the Japan Handball League. He came to Okinawa on June 4 and joined the other members of the team. “I received a great deal of encouragement in my home prefecture of Iwate. I will work hard to live up to their expectations.” Still rejoicing at the news, he now prepares to move to a new stage in his life.

Nakamura started playing handball when he was in high school. He then joined the Faculty of Medicine handball team after being accepted into Akita University. After graduating in 2009, he worked as a doctor specializing in anesthesia and internal medicine at a hospital in Morioka while continuing to play handball with his high school old boys’ team and at a club.

Nakamura did not achieve anything notable during his school days such as playing in a national tournament. He said, “The national league is a totally different world for me. It never even crossed my mind that I would ever be able to play there.” However, after he started working, even though the amount of free time he had to practice handball was limited, his desire to play grew even stronger. Whenever he had time, he would ask his high school team’s coach for permission to join their training sessions.

Nakamura said that he found out about this tryout through the Ryukyu Corazon’s website. He reserved a flight ticket to Okinawa immediately, saying, “I would have regretted it if I had given up without even trying, thinking that I couldn’t have made it anyway.” Nakamura displayed his speed and jumping ability at the trial to evaluate players’ running ability, skills and on-court movements. A person involved with the team said, “He had the best results and we were impressed by his enthusiasm,” and so he was chosen as one of two successful candidates.

For the time he is in Okinawa, he will concentrate on handball without working as a doctor. Expressing his enthusiasm, he said, “I am fine playing in any position as long as I can get on the court to play.” Ryukyu Corazon finished a record fifth in the league last season, just shy of a spot in the playoffs. “I want to be one of the players on the court at the moment we become number one in Japan,” Nakamura said. With his dream on the line, the 2013-14 season will start in September.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey) 

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