Bangladeshi sprinters ‘learn’ from Japanese Olympian

Japanese Olympian Shota Lizuka poses with top four Bangladeshi sprinters at the Sultana Kamal Women’s Sports Complex on Monday. Photo: STAR

Shota Iizuka, a Rio Olympic silver medallist from Japan's 4X100 relay team, today spent an hour with some 30 primary students of Sunnydale Junior School in the capital on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship between Japan and Bangladesh.

The 31-year-old athlete ran with the kids at the Sultana Kamal Women's Sports Complex ground after showing the kids some basic drills of running in presence of officials of Japan Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh Olympic Association and Bangladesh Athletics Federation.

Later the girls and boys were presented toys titled and jerseys while some took autograph of the Olympian while top four Bangladeshi athletes -- Mohammad Ismail, Shirin Akter, Mezbah Ahmed and Jahir Rayhan – also accompanied Iizuka and the kids, who also got some tips from the local athletes.

Jahir, Bangladesh's 200-meter record holder, also took part in a fun race with the Japanese athlete and took some valuable tips on improve his performance.

"It was a beautiful day that I spent with energetic kids and I wanted to give some energy by playing with them. Instead, I received energy from them and I want to thank them for that," said Iizuka, through an interpreter.

The Japanese athletes informed that they also have limitations in terms of training grounds, but they try to train every day for personal improvement. 

"Back in Japan, athletes can't do practise at stadiums and there is no beautiful ground in Japan. Despite the shortcomings, you can set new records by practising every day. The environment may also be one of the factors for athletes to grow up. However, there must be efforts from the athletes themselves. I think Bangladesh have good environment to produce athletes," said Iizuka, who became 200m champion in the World Junior Championship in 2010.

The athletes also informed Japan have a good structure of athletic competitions as the budding athletes get the accompany of expert coaches at school and community club levels.

Iizuka's coach Toyoda Yasuhiro said, "National athletics championships are held at high school and college level from where talented athletes are selected by the federation and the sports ministry for competitions."

"Besides, talented athletes are also brought to the national training centre for grooming and expert coaches are playing a good role at different level in that regard," said Yasuhiro.

Having spoken to Iizuka, Jahir realised that they learn things the wrong way here. He said that Iizuka sprints out of the block smoothly but with much energy which is not the case with Bangladeshi athletes.

"There are a lot of differences between Japanese athletes and Bangladeshi athletes. We know about many things and at the same time we don't know many things. Our main problem is that we don't learn things properly. If we get proper lesson, we can improve further," Jahir said. "The tips I got from him will help me if I can implement those."


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