Let's 55 Virtual Experience - Hockey with OHASHI Masaki

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When Olympians and Paralympians showcase their incredible skill, what does it look like from their point of view? Many people probably wonder as they watch in awe as their favourite athletes compete for the biggest prizes. Tokyo 2020 introduces 'Let’s 55 Virtual Experience’, a project that provides an innovative experience of what it actually looks like to compete as a top-level athlete, covering all 55 sports on the Tokyo 2020 Games programme.

Hockey

OHASHI Masaki is key to both offense and defense of Japan's hockey national team and is nicknamed 'Samurai Japan'. But what do the surroundings look like from his eyes? Find out by trying the 'Let’s 55 Virtual Experience'.

Speaking to Tokyo 2020, Ohashi explains how he started in the sport and what makes hockey so appealing.

The ball, the run, the pace of the game…everything moves at incredible speed

"The ball travels very fast in hockey, and even I feel it as a player. The ball travels especially fast when taking a shot at goal. Unlike football, there’s no limit to the number of substitutes a team can make, so players can use up their energy on the field, be replaced, recuperate, and go back on the field again. The players on the field are always refreshed and ready so they run fast and play the game at incredible speed. That’s what’s so great about hockey.

"Players can only use one side of the hockey stick, but with outstanding skills and ball control they squeeze between narrow spaces, float the ball or take a shot. If you focus on the fact that only one side of the stick can be used, you can see the details in the plays.

"When I was in second grade my brother asked me to come with him, and that’s when I started playing hockey. I’m 27 now so I’ve been playing for twenty years. When I was a kid, there was a local lifting competition and I wanted to win, so I started practising every day. I remember how much I enjoyed trying to lift the ball with my hockey stick one time more than the previous day. Thanks to all those days practicing, I acquired good ball control and can maneuver the ball and the stick better. Try lifting for yourself! It will definitely improve your skills.

"Of course I would like us to win the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games, but I also hope the Games would help promote hockey as well. 'Samurai Japan' is known for great teamwork. Whether it’s defence or offence, the whole team participates and supports each other. Rather than dribbling your way forward in offence, we pass the ball around. In defence, if the opponent dribbles past one of our guys, there’s always another guy, then a third guy trying to stop him. I hope everybody will notice how we work as a team."