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Japan defender Oikawa still targeting Olympic gold despite Tokyo 2020 postponement

March 31, 2020
Japan women’s defender Shihori Oikawa speaks to FIH.CH about the impact of the decision to postpone the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, explaining how she and her fellow Cherry Blossoms players are staying positive in uncertain times whilst remaining focussed on the dream of winning an Olympic gold medal on home soil. 

                        
Hi Shihori, thank you for talking to us. For completely understandable reasons, the ongoing COVID-19 global health crisis is affecting all major sporting events, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which has now been postponed. What are your thoughts about both the situation and the postponement of the Games?
Shihori Oikawa: "Since the last Olympics [Rio 2016], all athletes have been working with various thoughts for four years, preparing not only physically but also mentally. To be honest, there were some parts of the shock that were at first hard to accept, but at this moment, I am positive. I am thinking about what we will face in a year, and how we can build our team in a year."

In many parts of the world, social distancing is high on the agenda currently. Is this something that is happening in Japan, and if so, how is it affecting your team training plans?
Shihori Oikawa:
 “Yes. An overseas trip was planned earlier this year, but was cancelled. A domestic training camp was also planned in March for the Olympics, but it was dissolved today [26 March]."

What are the opportunities for Japanese hockey for 2021?
Shihori Oikawa
: "Our goal has not changed, and it is the [Olympic] gold medal. We take positively that the preparation period for another year has been extended toward that goal. Each athlete also organises their own mentality and works again with new feelings."

Despite the postponement to 2021, the chance to play an Olympic Games in your own country will be a huge occasion for Japan's hockey teams. How much will it mean to you, your team-mates and your nation to be part of such an amazing sporting spectacle?
Shihori Oikawa:
 "Hockey is still a smaller sport in Japan. This one year is a period in which we [as a team] can improve our power. I think that having a lot of preparation time due to the influence of the coronavirus, it is our mission to promote hockey in Japan if we can achieve good results. I want to focus on the results."

Once the current health situation has been resolved, the entire world will once again be looking forward to what will surely be a fantastic Olympics in Tokyo. With that in mind, do you have a message of hope for the global hockey family at this time?
Shihori Oikawa: "I think many people may have various concerns. However, a lot of people, including the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, are making various preparations so that people around the world can come to Japan without worry. So please come and watch the Olympics without any concern!”

To see the IOC’s media release regarding the new dates of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, please click here. To see a statement on this subject from FIH President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra, click here.
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