On June 19, Tenri Judo Association sponsored a pep rally at the Home of the Parent for Japanese judoka Tadahiro Nomura, 29, who will try to set an Olympic first in Athens–winning three golds in the same weight category.
A graduate of Tenri High School and Tenri University, Mr. Nomura won his first gold in the men’s 60kg category in Atlanta in 1996 when he was a fourth-year student at the university. After obtaining a Master’s degree at Nara University of Education, he retained his Olympic title in the 2000 Sydney Games and, later, took two years off to pursue other interests. Though he had to settle for a bronze medal at last year’s world championships, the Japanese star won the All Japan Championships in April this year to qualify for the Athens Games.
Among the 600 people attending the rally was the former Shinbashira, who is the president of Tenri Judo Association. In his speech, he praised Mr. Nomura for his outstanding efforts and encouraged others to try to follow in his footsteps.
“I had to work hard to qualify for Athens, but seeing so many people supporting me really makes it all worthwhile,” said Mr. Nomura. “What I need to watch out for now is injuries and the complacent sense of ‘been there, done that.'”
He added: “I’d like to get the gold by doing the sort of judo I learned in Tenri–by getting an ippon (full point throw) from a proper grip position.”