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Newly minted teenager Tamai becomes Japan's youngest national diving champion

Kyodo

First-year junior high school student Rikuto Tamai became Japan’s youngest national diving champion on Monday, the final day of the national championships.

Tamai, who turned 13 on Sept. 11, won the title with 498.50 points at Ishikawa Prefecture’s Kanazawa Pool. According to the Japan Swimming Federation, Tamai surpassed Ken Terauchi as Japan’s youngest champion. In 1994, Terauchi won at the age of 13 years, 11 months.

“My mission was to take that first step toward the Olympics with a win here,” Tamai said. “I want to get close to 500 points against world-class competition as well.”

Although he also became Japan’s youngest national indoor champ in April, Tamai was unable to compete at this year’s world diving championships, because he would not turn 14 this year.

Tamai is now aiming to compete for Japan at April’s World Cup, which will be the final Olympic qualifying competition.