Japanese Athletes Shine on the World’s Stage

by

ayumu-goromaru

It’s been a good week for Japanese sport.

The Brave Blossoms’ shock victory against South Africa was voted the top moment in Rugby World Cup history and one of the heroes from that team, Ayumu Goromaru, capped a glorious autumn by signing for Super Rugby team the Queensland Reds. In the gymnastics World Championships, Kohei Uchimura and co. picked up four gold medals, while footballer Yoshinori Muto bagged a hat-trick for Mainz.

Japan’s dramatic last-gasp win over South Africa was undoubtedly the biggest ever shock at the World Cup and, according to a recent fans’ poll, it is also considered the top moment in the tournament’s history. It finished ahead of Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal in England’s defeat of Australia in the 2003 final, Jonah Lomu’s blistering performance against England in 1995 and France’s remarkable comeback against the All Blacks in 1999.

The most high-profile player from the Japan team that won three games at the World Cup, Ayumu Goromaru signed for the St. George Queensland Reds this week. He will join up with the Australian side after his commitments with Yamaha Jubilo are completed in February next year. He is set to play alongside international teammate Hendrik Tui. It will be interesting to see the two men line up against their fellow countrymen when the Reds take on the new Japanese franchise, the Sunwolves on May 21. That’s if the Sunwolves have a coach and enough players by then.

The gymnast known as “Superman,” Kohei Uchimura continued his domination in the individual all-around event winning the title for the sixth consecutive time at the World Championships in Glasgow. He hasn’t lost an AA competition since coming second at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He also won gold on the horizontal bar and helped Japan to a team gold. It is the latter medal that gave him the most satisfaction. It was the first time Japan had won a team gold for 37 years. Teenage sensation, Kenzo Hirai – who was also part of that team – unsurprisingly won the floor event.

Yoshinori Muto bagged a hat-trick for Mainz, becoming only the second Japanese player to do so, following in the footsteps of Naohiro Takahara. The former FC Tokyo striker completed the feat in stoppage time of the game against Augsburg last weekend, earning his side a dramatic 3-3 draw. Muto now has six goals in eleven games in what has been a successful start to life in Germany. He signed for Mainz in the summer after reportedly turning down an offer from Chelsea.

–Matthew Hernon

Image: Sky Sports

by

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

View Comments