Hashimoto Daiki, Ishikawa Yuki plucked as new faces of Japanese Olympic movement

The Tokyo 2020 Olympians join 11 previously named athletes who will work in ambassadorial role as Japan's best and brightest.

By Shintaro Kano
Picture by JOC/Dai Tamura

Tokyo 2020 Olympic men's all-around champion Hashimoto Daiki and Japan volleyball captain Ishikawa Yuki were newly named as the Japanese Olympic Committee's Symbol Athletes on Thursday (23 June).

Recognised for their excellence on the field of play, Symbol Athletes are de facto ambassadors and role models of the Japanese Olympic movement.

"It's an absolute honour", Hashimoto said at JOC headquarters where he was unveiled. Ishikawa did not attend because of the ongoing Volleyball Nations League.

"Uchmiura-san used to be a Symbol Athlete for gymnastics. I hope to give back through gymnastics just like Kohei-san did.

"Last year we didn't win a gold medal in the team event. So (in Paris) first and foremost I want to prove Japanese gymnastics is No. 1 then defend the all-around title.

"If I aim to beat myself from the season before every year, I'll get to where I want to go. I want to keep working every day".

Hashimoto Daiki
Picture by Photo Kishimoto/JOC

Hashimoto, who also struck gold on the high bar at last summer's Games, and Ishikawa, who led the Japanese men to their first Olympic quarter-final in 29 years in Tokyo, filled out an elite list of 13.

The others are:

Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (athletics), Watabe Akito (Nordic combined), Kodaira Nao (speed skating), Takagi Miho (speed skating), Uno Shoma (figure skating), Kinjo Risako (wrestling), Minobe Kazuyasu (fencing), Abe Hifumi and Uta (judo), Ueno Yukiko (softball) and Momota Kento (badminton).

Ishikawa Yuki
Picture by JOC/Dai Tamura

In a video taped message, Ishikawa said, "I am honoured and excited to be working in this capacity with other fantastic athletes.

"We hope to be more competitive and try to win a medal in Paris this time. I want to keep pushing myself as an individual and as an athlete".

The JOC also named 16 Next Symbol Athletes, or ambassadors waiting in the wings, including swimmer Honda Tomoru (silver, men's 200-metre butterfly in Tokyo), gymnast Kitazono Takeru and figure skater Kawabe Mana.


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