“An amazingly well organized event with an incredible audience!” Simon Rufener, Switzerland
“It was amazing to compete in such a big hall with so many spectators”. Martine van den Boogaard, the Netherlands
These are only two reactions to the 2019 Team World Cup in Japan. Athletes and Trainers were overwhelmed.
Nearly a year ago in May 2018 at the World Championships in Magglingen (Switzerland) the teams from Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany and Japan qualified for the TWC. At that time no one knew how an international competition will be executed in Japan, because there never had be one. But finally in 2019 IRV could put Japan on the list of the hosting countries.
The Japan Rhoenrad Association with its president Takashi Otsuka invited the international Wheel Gymnastics community to come to Japan to compete for the 9th Team World Cup in Wheel Gymnastics. In Akita – in the north of Japan and in the home-town from Japanese wheel gymnasts Yasuhiko Takahashi and Aya Horiguchi – the delegations from Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands arrived most likely by Shinkansen train – a first original Japanese experience.
The „Akita Prefectural Gymnasium“ was a perfect venue. The hall offers seats for around 3,000 spectators. Already 60 Minutes prior to entrance opening, a large number of spectators stand in line and waited for entrance and eventually filled the gym. Three TV networks were present and a live-stream organized. The opening ceremony – choreographed by the president of the organizing committee Satoshi Motoya – started with an inspiring G-ball show of students of the university of Tsukuba and was completed by a Wheel Gymnastics performance by Niigata university students.
At 13:00 sharp the judges and gymnasts entered the stage and 3,000 enthusiasts cheered for the main actors of this afternoon. Between the competition rounds several intermittence shows entertained the ambiance. A competent speaker explained facts and figures of Wheel Gymnastics and the specificities of this competition to the audience. Woo’s and Wow’s were the reaction of the packed gym.
The organizing team has achieved extraordinary results. And the competition was thrilling till the very end: The very last routine by Simon Rufener from Switzerland turned the points to an advantage for team Germany. Team Japan came out second – and received an emotional applause for their performances.
Besides the sporting success of the teams, the Japan Wheel Gymnastics Community around Takashi Otsuka, Satoshi Motoya, Yasuhiko Takahashi and all their supporters have increased the benchmark for hosting a Team World Cup competition. For hosting an international event for the first time, this was an outstanding performance!
As president of the IRV – representing all participants of 2019. Akita – I would like to say THANK YOU again, for showing us this part of our sporting world. Henning Henningsen
My additional appreciation goes to the students of Akita International University, who organized a sightseeing tour with „kanto latern balancing“ (a traditional sports activity in Akita) and a two day off-site event with traditional Japanese housing, food and culture. It couldn’t have even be better.
This event will stay in all our memories for a very long time!
Thank You to
- Takashi Otsuka,
- Satoshi Motoya,
- Yasuhiko Takahashi,
- Aya Horiguchi,
- Eriko Nishi,
- Takako Hiwa,
- Nobuko Yoshiyuki,
- Chika Maehara,
- the students from Akita International University,
- the Akita Northern Happinets for providing the equipment / manpower and
- all the supporters around, who made this event outstanding.