Ayano Kishi has punched her ticket for the London Olympics. Now, the 19-year-old trampolinist hopes she can do her nation proud.
“Every day is important for me,” says Kishi, the only Japanese woman to qualify for London in the trampoline event. “I want to someday surpass the Japanese women’s record of a sixth-place finish at the Olympics.”
Kishi is currently a second-year student at Kanazawa Gakuin University. In January, she came 10th at the final qualifiers in London to earn a berth at the Games, continuing Japan’s successive participation in the Olympic women’s trampoline event. Since trampoline was introduced as an official sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Japan has been represented at each Games in the women’s event.
Still, Kishi doesn’t feel like she is simply protecting a streak.
“I was really eager to go,” she says. “That’s why I think I was able to get my ticket. Well, that and the support of coach Furu got me to this point.”
Kishi was referring to Akiko Furu, 38, who placed sixth at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Furu is Kishi’s mentor at university and a coach on the national women’s team.
“Ayano’s level is about the same as my level when I went to the Olympics,” Furu says. “But I was 27. She’s 19, so she can get even better.”
Furu has known Kishi since Kishi was just 7 years old.
“She was a late bloomer,” Furu recalls.
They met at a gym in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, at a training camp just before the Sydney Olympics.
“I had heard she was a gymnast,” Furu says. “As expected, she had a lot of explosive power.”
After years of training, Kishi now has the flexibility and body line “that no other Japanese gymnast has,” according to Furu.
At the London Olympics, Kishi is not planning to boost her degree of difficulty. To perform at her optimum level, she wants to soar higher and be technically sound.
“I really want to get better,” the promising teen says, looking further ahead than just the London Olympics.
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