A young men's curling team operating in tandem with Japan's Beijing Olympic women's silver medal-winning club Loco Solare has set a goal of reaching the medals podium at the 2026 Olympics in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo.

The team of four college students grew up together in the small northern Japan town of Kitami, Hokkaido, a curling hotspot. This month their team was officially named "Loco Drago," which combines "Loco" with the Italian translation of "dragon."

"I feel some pressure to include 'Loco' for our team name," skip Takumi Maeda said, referring to the popular women's team. "But we'll try to get better with this new feeling."

Loco Solare, also based in Kitami, is managed by the same company.

Takumi Maeda, his younger brother Hiroki, Uryu Kamikawa and Asei Nakahara were runners-up in their 2021 national championships debut as high school students.

Along with their new name, the four are poised to move up from junior division events to senior competitions.

Mari Motohashi, head of Loco Solare's operating company, voiced hope that the men will also shine on the international stage, saying, "The women are reliable older sisters, so the men just need to follow in their sisters' footsteps."

Motohashi competed in the women's Olympic curling in 2006 in Turin and four years later in Vancouver.

"If we get results, I think people will pay attention to us," Takumi Maeda said. "Our team will try to represent Japan and get a medal."