Despite suffering a severe knee injury, Ramu Tokashiki has not yet abandoned her hopes of competing at the Summer Olympics.
Tokashiki is undisputedly Japan’s best player, but tore her right ACL in December. Even so, her name was among those listed last week when the Japan Basketball Association revealed the 22 players who would participate in a national team training camp.
Tokashiki, a seven-time Women’s Japan Basketball League MVP, recently met with the media online and said she has been focusing on her rehab and has not practiced with the Tom Hovasse-led national team during the training camp.
Because the recovery time for an ACL injury is often around one year, the general consensus was that Tokashiki, who suffered the injury during the All-Japan Championship, would be ruled out of the Tokyo Games, where women’s basketball is scheduled to begin July 26.
“Honestly, it would be easy to give up and I know there are many people who think it’s impossible for me to play,” Tokashiki said about her chances of taking the court this summer. “But I’m trying to do the best I can to see how much I can go.”
Tokashiki added, however, that she won’t push herself too far in search of a spot on the Olympic roster because she has a career to think about after the Tokyo Games.
“I won’t go over the top and my knee will be my priority,” said the 29-year-old star, who led the Japanese team with averages of 17 points and 6.3 rebounds during the Rio Games in 2016. “The Tokyo Olympics won’t be the final Olympics I have a chance to play in. I would like to compete while also looking further down the road.”
The 192-cm center/forward said she didn’t suffer mentally as much as some thought she might after the injury because she felt like she still had a job to do from the sidelines for the Eneos Sunflowers during the 2020-21 WJBL season.
The season ended in late March with the Sunflowers losing to the Toyota Antelopes in the WJBL Finals and failing to extend their run of consecutive titles to 12.
Tokashiki, a former WNBA player with the Seattle Storm, was seen on the bench giving her teammates advice and encouragement from the time she was injured until the conclusion of the finals.
“If I was down mentally, it would have affected my team,” she said. “I actually had time to think about different things after the season was over and had more time to be both up and down mentally. But I’m trying to not give up (on the Olympics) too easily.”
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