Rikuto Tamai, Japan’s 13-year-old men’s national diving champion, overcame his nerves on Sunday and earned a spot in April’s Diving World Cup, the final qualifying event for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Tamai, who was too young to compete at last July’s World Aquatics Championships, won the men’s event at this weekend’s national team selection meet at Tatsumi International Swimming Center.
“This takes me one step closer to the Olympics,” said Tamai, who scored big in his final two dives to clinch it. “At the World Cup, I want to push ahead even more.
“I was really nervous before the start. (At the end) I wasn’t greedy and just let my body do its thing.”
With a final score of 458.05 points, Tamai took first ahead of Kinki University’s Reo Nishida, who also earned a spot at the World Cup, which will also be held in Tokyo.
Sayaka Mikami won the women’s event with 320.50 points. Mikami had already booked her 3-meter springboard Olympic spot at last year’s worlds.
Haruka Enomoto, who won the women’s synchronized competition here, also qualified for the World Cup individual competition.
Rin Kaneto, whose parents and maternal grandfather all competed for Japan in Olympic diving, will likely miss out on this year’s Olympics. The 16-year-old finished fourth, failing to qualify for the World Cup.