Dunedin base as Nakamura aims for Japan team

Japanese rower Daichi Nakamura competes for the Otago University Rowing Club at last weekend’s Canterbury Championships in Twizel. Photo: Sharron Bennett
Japanese rower Daichi Nakamura competes for the Otago University Rowing Club at last weekend’s Canterbury Championships in Twizel. Photo: Sharron Bennett
Daichi Nakamura has had an off-water role with the Japan rowing team - now he wants to make it on the water.

A fully qualified doctor and surgeon, the 30-year-old has been his national team's doctor.

However, he has put that and his hospital job aside for a year to come to Dunedin to row with the Otago University team.

A lightweight sculler, his goal is to make the Japan national team.

Nakamura arrived from Wadayama in April last year as part of the Game On English programme.

Set up by both country's governments, the programme allows Japanese athletes to come to New Zealand to learn English.

Rowing was the second sport included in the programme, rugby being the first.

Nakamura has spent three months learning at the university's language centre and has stayed on to train with the rowing club.

That has two benefits.

One is that it allows him to converse with other team doctors at international regattas.

The other is the training opportunity.

A home Olympics - Tokyo 2020 - looms and provides plenty of incentive to try to make the Japan team.

To do that he will return home for trials on March 11, when he hopes to finish in the top four, preferably the top two.

The intensity of the training in New Zealand has helped with that.

In Japan people work long hours in their day jobs, leaving them without much rest.

Their training sessions tended to be longer, although at a much lower intensity.

In New Zealand, rather than going 20km, they may go 14-16km but at a higher intensity and quality.

While he has worked as an Uber driver and now at a Japanese restaurant in Dunedin, Nakamura said he still had much more free time.

That allowed him to get the rest to train at that higher intensity.

He also found training more enjoyable in New Zealand.

Key training partners had included Corey Lewis and Dylan Davis, both of who had helped push him along.

Otago University coach Glen Sinclair said the biggest focus now was getting Nakamura more racing experience.

He described him as a ''fantastic trainer'' and very disciplined in what he did.

However, he had not done so much racing and was benefiting from the additional regattas over the New Zealand summer.

He had made the club A final at the Otago championships and raced in China with the university's men's eight.

While wind had limited racing at last weekend's Canterbury Championships, there was still the South Island and national championships to go.

They will act as his lead-in to the Japan team trials.

Should he make the national team, he will remain in Japan and train with his team-mates.

If not, he will return to his hospital, being able to reprise his job as a surgeon after giving a month's notice.

Add a Comment

 

Advertisement

postanote_header_620_x_80.png

postanote_620_x_25.jpg