OSHU, IWATE PREFECTURE – Gurimu Narita, the men’s Pyeongchang Paralympic banked slalom champion, is looking to compete in canoe at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“This is a sport in which my disability won’t hinder me,” said the 24-year-old, whose left leg is numb below the knee. On Sunday, he took part in the Japan Cup, an event for able-bodied canoeists in Iwate Prefecture that attracted top-level competitors from around Japan.
Although a novice with roughly 15 days of practice under his belt, Narita competed in the swift current. He had a few slip-ups including missing some gates, but finished both of his qualifying runs.
“I was taken aback. The current was faster than I imagined,” said Narita, who wants to also compete in the Tokyo Paralympics. “To compete in both the Olympics and the Paralympics in two years’ time represents a massive obstacle, but I want to try.
“I want to put my heart and soul into that next step ahead of me.”