This is the final installment in a three-part series about the efforts of Obihiro, as the nation's speedskating hub, to nurture young skaters to become future Olympians.

On the evening of Feb. 1, Masayuki Kawahara, 67, manager of the Roller Skate Club, a speedskating club team in Obihiro, Hokkaido, sent a message to about 50 junior high school students and their parents via the Line app.

New members doubling