Japan's 2008 Olympic silver medal winning relay squad: Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Nobuharu Asahara and Shinji Takahira (© Getty Images)
Members of the Japanese men's 4x100m relay quartet that won silver at the 2008 Olympic Games have been named as the national ambassadors for the IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019, local organisers announced today.
Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara clocked 38.15 to take second and secure Japan's first men's medal on the track in Olympic competition. The squad will reunite to help promote the IAAF World Relays YOKOHAMA 2019, set for 11-12 May in Japan's second largest city.
"The slogan of the event, 'Faster As One', is exactly what I thought when we won a medal at Beijing Olympics, said Asahara, who at 36 at the time, was the oldest member of the team and its anchor. "The fascination of the relay is seeing four athletes working together creating something stronger."
"I would like to live up to the name of being an Olympic medallist and also as an ambassador spreading the profundity and greatness of the relay events," said Suetsugu, who raced to 200m bronze at the 2003 World Championships, the only member of the foursome to achieve such international success in an individual event. "Most of all I would like to enjoy and add fuel to the excitement of the event."
Takahira, who was also a member of the 2004 and 2012 Olympic squads that finished fourth at both competitions, said, "I am really excited to share the excitement of the relay events and the World Relays to as many people as possible and the baton work."
Tsukahara, who was also a two-time World Championships 4x100m relay finalist and the 2006 Asian Games 100m silver medallist, said, "I want to spread the greatness of sports and the profundity of the relay events in athletics and the importance of striving for excellence."
Last week, IAAF announced that Gail Devers, a five-time world champion and triple Olympic gold medallist, was named as the IAAF's ambassador for the event.