LONDON – The main Japanese delegation for the London Olympics arrived Sunday in the British capital, hoping for a successful campaign in the 100th year since Japan first participated in the Summer Games.
“The start (of the Olympics) is almost upon us. We will work hard in our final preparations,” said chef de mission Haruki Uemura.
The delegation of around 120 athletes and officials was greeted by Japanese flag-waving fans at Heathrow Airport’s arrival lobby.
Popular badminton player Reiko Shiota, who will retire in September, was in high spirits ahead of her final Olympics.
“It’s so nice that people come here to welcome us. It makes me feel how special the Olympics are.”
Weightlifter Hiromi Miyake hopes to hit her peak when the competition gets into full swing on July 28.
“This is my third Olympic challenge. I want to deliver results with all the strength I have built up. Condition-wise I am at about 98 percent. Hopefully I can hit peak form on the day of the competition,” she said.
Men’s judo ace Takamasa Anai added, “I came to London to get the gold medal. Everyone is fired up. There’s an excellent atmosphere in the team. Now it is just a case of getting the job done.”
Several of Japan’s gold medal hopefuls, including double Olympic breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima and men’s gymnastics all-around world champion Kohei Uchimura, had already arrived in London.