Yuki Hashioka in the long jump at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (© Roger Sedres)
Yuki Hashioka leapt into prominence last summer after taking the world U20 long jump title in Tampere. The 19-year-old hails from an athletics family - his father Toshiyuki is a former national record holder in the pole vault and seven-time national champion and his mother, Naomi, a former national record holder in the 100m hurdles - and was drawn to the sport at a young age. Hashioka broke through the eight-metre barrier last year and this season improved his personal best to 8.09m. Here he discusses his athletes roots and relationship with his parents and shares some of his ambitions as he approaches his first season in senior competition.
"Growing up, I was surrounded by trophies and awards in the home, and my grandparents told me stories about my parents' accomplishments and how great they were. But there was no pressure from them, they never forced him to take the path they had chosen.
"I did a multi-event competition in junior high school, comprising of the 110m hurdle (15.36), shot put (11.45m /4kg), high jump (1.89m), and the 400m (54.46), which landed me third in the junior championship at age 14. I love those events but the long jump was always calling me, it seemed so cool.
"I love the moment of being in the air. Making the approach, there is an anticipation of something great happening. Once you kick the board, everything moves in slow motion. It's incredible and I love the moment.
"My parents don't give much technical advice and I get it, they just want to be my mom and dad. They do have a lot of knowledge though so when they point out my bad habits it's hard to ignore it and I respect their opinion. I'm sure some athletes are reluctant to hear criticism from their parents but I cherish the time I spend discussing my performance with them. They've been at the top and I am very grateful to have their feedback."
“I would like to take Japanese national record, and I really want to compete on the European circuit and the Diamond League next season. My dad is a track nerd. He especially loves the Diamond League and we always watch the meets together. It looks so exciting and I hope I get my chances and hope my parents are able to come watch me jump.”
Ayako Oikawa for the IAAF