“They’re really getting stronger,” “The pride of Kitami” – Loco Solare qualify for Olympics
Messages of congratulations flooded in from locals on December 18, the day after Loco Solare, the women’s curling team from the city of Kitami, beat Korea in the first play-off match of the pre-Olympic qualification event for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, to qualify for their second consecutive Olympics.
Usami Mihoko, proprietor of the Shaberitai Café in Tokoro-cho, Kitami, which is often frequented by members of the Loco Solare team, praised the achievement, saying “Fantastic! They did really well despite the pressure of being medalists at the PyeongChang Games (2018).” She was particularly impressed by skip Fujisawa Satsuki, who made a double take-out of Korean stones to score two points in the fifth end, when the score was at 3-3. “I just want them to enjoy playing in the Olympics. If they enjoy themselves, the results will follow naturally,” she said.
Kawai Akinori, chairman of Netz Toyota Kitami, where ‘third’ Yoshida Chinami works, said “Even when the other team made good shots, the players talked with each other and handled the situation calmly. They’re really getting stronger.”
Watanabe Mondo, CEO of Seigetsu, a confectionary production and sales company in Kitami that sponsors the team, watched the match against Korea at home. “They overcame the Corona pandemic and won at the crucial time. They are really an amazing team. They fought with dignity, and are really dependable. The pride of Kitami,” he said.
Vice-president of the Japan Curling Association and a resident of Tokoro, Matsudaira Hitoshi looked back to the 5-8 loss to Turkey in the round robin saying “They were a bit stiff and not the Loco Solare we know and love,” but praised the team’s victory against Korean on the 17th, saying “They showed an aggressive attitude and played as usual.”
Kuze Kazunori, president of the Kitami Curling Association, said “I think there some issues in the pre- Olympic qualification event, so I hope they will correct them one by one ahead of the Olympics. We will do our utmost to support the athletes.”
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