Wakkanai’s Fujita tentatively selected to compete in Tokyo Paralympic cycling event

Fujita Masaki, who won bronze medal in the Men’s Individual Time Trial event in the cycling at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

On June 18, Fujita Masaki (36) of Fuji Construction Co., Ltd. in Wakkanai, was tentatively selected to represent Japan in the cycling event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Fujita is an experienced athlete who up to and including the previous Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, competed in three consecutive Games, winning 5 medals. Family and friends expressed their joy at the announcement, saying they hope he brings home a gold medal.

The announcement of Fujita’s tentative selection was published on the Japan Para-Cycling Federation’s website at approximately 5 p.m. on the 18th. His father, Yukihiro was modestly happy about his son’s selection, saying “I heard that this time would be difficult, so to be honest I’m really happy. Masaki is aiming for a gold medal but I just hope he gives his all and avoids injury.”

Mr. Takahashi, who runs a cycle shop in the city of Wakkanai and who regularly keeps in touch with Fujita, spoke excitedly about his hopes. “He’s done enough training to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics and his legs are moving really well. I hope he can compete while taking care not to get injured or infected with the Coronavirus.”

Until Wakkanai High School, Fujita was a track and field athlete who competed as a middle-distance runner. After entering Tokai University, he became absorbed in triathlons but, in August, 2004, was involved in a traffic accident and lost both his legs below the knee. Fujita overcame the adversity and performed well at three consecutive Paralympic Games: the Beijing 2008 Games (2 silver medals, 1 bronze), the London 2012 Games (1 bronze), and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Games (1 silver).

At a domestic training camp in April, Fujita’s time in the 1,000-meter time trial of the track event was close to his own Japan national record, which was set in 2014 at high altitude in Mexico, where air resistance was low. If he can reach such speed at low altitude, he aims to take top place at the Tokyo Games.