Hiroki Saegusa Intevew
The Deaflympics is a international sports competition organised every four years by the International Olympics Commitee where deaf
athletes can compete. It started in 1924 and was at the time called 'World Games for the Deaf' ,but was in 2001 changed to the Deaflympics.
Sozo : Vol. ２ is of Athletics short distance sprinter Hiroki Saegusa.
Could you please introduce yourself ?
Hiroki : Hello, my name is Hiroki Saegusa, born on the 28th of September 1990, 25 years old. I am from Hyogo Prefecture in japan.
Sozo : What made you start doing athletics?
Hiroki : I was introduced to the sport during my first year of high school through my friend who loves athletics.
He is still active and I would one day want to represent japan in the Deaflympics together with him.
Sozo : Did you start off as short distance sprinter?
Hiroki : No, I started with long jump and triple jump.
However, the winter of the same year I started, my lower back started hurting and I had to switch to short distance running.
Sozo : Your father also did athletics. Did he influence you?
Hiroki : Yes, or at least a little. More than him did my ２ years older sister influence me, who also did short distance and long Jump.
Sozo : She must be supporting you still!
Hiroki : Yes! I think she will be until I retire.
Sozo : Does your father give you any specific advice?
Hiroki : Well, he always keeps telling me, 'Even if something might kill you in the end, work frantically for it'.
Believing this, I put a lot of effort into the sport. I also always enjoyed it a lot.
Sozo : How were your tournament results in high school?
Hiroki : In the Kinki region I was the best, but I think I was third nationwide.. In the end, I didn't get any awards in the high school national athletics competition for deaf people though.
Sozo : What do you enjoy most with athletics?
Hiroki : With the 100m, failing to get a good start will lead to it almost being impossible to catch up until the end,
and the smallest mistakes during the race will affect your results drastically, which is unnerving. On the contrary
when everything goes perfectly you can achieve your best score and this is the fun about it! The 100m is simple and
straightforward and this is what makes it hard,but yet the most interesting. It is a sport which only lasts for seconds,
and the feeling of running while cutting through the wind is very pleasant.
Sozo : Lately you are also participating in competitions with people without disabilities, how is that?
Hiroki : Yes! I am trying to participate actively. There are many people who are very fast, who influence me positively.
I can somewhat hear the starting pistol, however lately there are also lights to signal the start of the race.
I am trying to work out new techniques and methods and think I will be able to reach my best score so far anytime soon.
Sozo : Do you plan your training yourself?
Hiroki : Yes, on-season I follow a workout plan that I plan myself. During winter I train with people at a university I visit.
Sozo : Did you ever experience a slump?
Hiroki : I did, for about two years. At the time, I got support from my seniors and tried many ways of training to find a way
that fit me best. I also got into doing weights more, and put more effort into a limited number of runs instead
of doing many. With this, I slowly managed to get back to my personal best and after that I had a period where
I beat my own records continuously. It was a tough two years and I also thought of quitting several times,
but my motivation to attend the Deaflympics was strong and I managed to not give up.
I also managed to find a form of training that fits me well. A phrase that I like is 'Failure leads to process,
and when you succeed in the end, the failures are what brought you there'. This gave me motivation to continue training.
Sozo : You have very strong mentality.
Hiroki : Not really, I've improved, but I am still weak.
Sozo : What did you do after high school?
Hiroki : I found a job in Hyogo and did my training in a nearby athletics field.
The company was very flexible, however with the practise towards the Deaflympics I had to increase practice
hours and quit my job. For about a year I fully focused on athletics for the competition.
After the last Deaflympics I wanted to practice with stronger athletes and, by my own will, moved my base
to Kanto prefecture, surviving on part time jobs. May last year I became a part of Avex as 'Avex Challenged Athlete'.
Now I can fully engage in practise, which is great!
Sozo : What are your goals from now on?
HIroki : First of all I want to win the 100m of the 12th Japan Athlete Championships for the Deaf, for the third year running.
Then I want to win the Asia Pacific Deaf Games in October and further come first and take gold in the Deaflympics in 2017!
In addition to this, unrelated to athletics, I want to promote Deaflympics.
Worldwide there are few who know about it and in Japan 94% know about the Paralympics, a number which is
close to 100%, but only 2.8% know about the Deaflympics.
We should promote it more so it gets taken up in the media and involve PR as well.
I strongly want to spread the knowledge of the Deaflympics to a wider audience. Please keep on giving us encouragements
and cheering us on!
増田 真衣 Mai Masuda Gylseth