Yuki Hayashi, Legal Affairs Department of HORIBA, Ltd. participated in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics , as a member of the Japanese archery team in the team and individual competitions.
It was her second Olympics participation after the first challenge at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Japanese archery woman’s team was rated in a top 8 ranking as a result.
(As of July 2016)
She spoke about the path she has followed and her enthusiasm for the Rio Olympics.
— At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, you won eighth prize in the team competition, which is the highest the Japanese women’s archery team had ever ranked. As your second time in an Olympics approaches, has your attitude toward the event changed in any way compared to eight years ago?
At the Beijing Olympics, many colleagues came to the venue to support me, and I remember their great encouragement. The Olympic Games is larger in scale than any other competition, and its tense atmosphere is very special. I was chosen as an Olympic athlete in November 2007, soon after my career in HORIBA began, and during the subsequent eight months until the Olympics, training camps and competitions in Japan and abroad continued, the days passing at a dizzying speed.
As an Olympic athlete representing Japan, I felt pressure at all times. After I was chosen, I always taxed my strength in practice and games, and when the Beijing Olympics started I had not been able to relax myself mentally or physically. I forced myself to think that I always had to be No. 1 because I had been chosen to compete in the Olympics.
Compared to that time, today, having set a goal of achieving a satisfactory result at the Olympics, I think about what I should concentrate my energies on in each training camp and away competition. I am not taxing my strength at all times, so in the good sense, I am now able to control myself so that I am not overeager to win.
— You once thought of giving up archery after you missed the berth for the London Olympics, we hear. In the past seven years, during which time things did not always go well, what led you to decide to try competing in an Olympics again?
It is true that I felt no longer able to join the Olympics because I had missed the London Olympics. The turning point was that I was tempted by an organizer of a field archery tournament held in Kyoto in 2011 who said, “I will give you a lunch box for free if you help us to organize the tournament” (laughs), so I participated in the event not as an athlete but as an assistant in its operation.
I attached targets boards and served as a public-address announcer for the competition (laughs). Then, the players who knew me came to me and asked, “Why are you just watching? You should play in the competition!” I was not so willing to do, but I was half-forced to apply in the upcoming competition, which is how I came to do field archery, and surprisingly, as a result I became able to compete in the national field archery tournament. Since then, I decided to give vent to my frustration of being unable to compete in the London Olympics by concentrating on this national field archery tournament. From that time, I started to practice field archery truly in earnest.
Unlike ‘target archery’, ‘field archery’ made me think about many factors such as differences in ground level and distances to targets. This allowed me to see archery with a new frame of mind. It was also fun to climb the mountain with a lunch box in order to practice field archery there (laughs).
At the national field archery tournament, I ranked first in the preliminaries, qualifying for the final round, and thus acquired the right to take part in the World Archery Field Championships. From then on, I further concentrated on my practice and climbed the mountain almost every day. I do not think I have ever practiced so desperately as I did then. So I challenged myself at the World Archery Field Championships in 2012 and ranked seventh in the individual competition. This was my first time to win a prize at the world championships in the individual competition, which led me to think that I could win a prize if I worked enough hard and gained confidence in myself.
I enjoyed the competitions themselves very much and made friends with athletes from other countries. As we mutually praised our strenuous efforts, I felt from the bottom of my heart how wonderful archery was. From then on, I gradually regained my form, became able to enjoy archery, and increasingly felt that I should do my best to participate in an Olympics again. As I was chosen as a member of the Japanese team for one international competition after another and achieved satisfactory results, the ambition for the Rio Olympics increased.
— You have taken part in many international competitions and achieved satisfactory results.
What do you consider to be important when competing at the highest level in the world?
When I enter an international competition, all the athletes appear more skillful. The most important thing at such moments is not to compare myself with other athletes but instead to believe in what I have done at practice. This is all I need to do. Demonstrating properly all that I have done in practice will always bring results. If things do not go well, that means I lacked something. I have also become able to analyze causes and control my mood for the next competition.
In the team competition, under Mr. Nobukane Tanaka, Coach of the Japanese women’s team, the three athletes, myself included, consider it to be important to maintain an atmosphere of enjoying the competition with a smile. Coach Tanaka’s guidance has enabled us to display our abilities in global competitions; enjoying the competitions, displaying our abilities by switching our mood clearly between office hours and archery time. This idea shares something in common with HORIBA’s motto “Joy and Fun. ”
As for the Beijing Olympics, my goal was simply to participate in the event, but at the Rio Olympics, my goal is to win medals in both the individual and team competitions.