This is the second 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.

“Our challenge is how to balance the holding of large-scale competitions and the use of skating facilities by children,” says Ryo Katsumi, 52, secretary-general of the Obihiro Skating Federation, which registers skaters from elementary, junior high and high schools in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido.

Katsumi’s concern comes as the area serves as the nation’s speedskating hub for hosting international competitions.