Eyeing the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Interview with Megu Hemphill 2020年東京オリンピックを目指して ヘンプヒル恵選手へインタビュー

People’s interest in sports has been rising since Tokyo was selected to host the summer Olympic Games in 2020. Megu Hemphill, a 19-year-old hopeful in track and field, entered Chuo University to be enrolled in the Faculty of Letters in April 2015. She burst into the spotlight by renewing the high-school and junior records in heptathlon at the inter-high school athletics championships in August 2014. A native of Kyoto, she came to Tokyo alone with a feeling of anxiety. Hakumon Herald interviewed her to ask what she thinks now and how she sees her future.




  -Do you play any sports other than heptathlon?



  Hemphill: I played handball when I was an elementary school pupil.I vaguely felt at the time I was fond of taking physical action. So, when I got into a junior high school, I joined the track and field club to do exercise. I won first prize in quadrathon at the national junior high school athletics championships. I started playing heptathlon after I went up to high school.

ヘンプヒル 小学校の時にハンドボールしていました。その時から漠然と体を動かすのが好きだということは頭にあったので、中高一貫校に入り、運動をしようと思い陸上部に入部し、全日本中学校陸上競技選手権大会の四種競技で優勝しました。高校に進学し七種を始めました。


  -Why did you choose Chuo from among many universities?



  Hemphill: Well, I had been told that members of Chuo University’s women’s track and field club have long hours to practice and do a lot of work. I worked considerably hard during my junior high and high school days, and I just wanted to keep the stint at Chuo. A severe environment suits me and I think that gives me chances to get confident. In my study, I have't fully settled yet and it's not easy for me to follow my classmates. But I have no idea to devote myself only to track and field. I think one of strong  points about Chuo's club is that you can separate your study from sports. 

ヘンプヒル 中央大学の女子陸上部は、練習時間も多いし、かなりの量をこなすと聞いていたからです。中学高校時代はかなりの練習量をこなしてきたので、そのままの流れを大事にしていきたかったわけです。厳しい環境というのはとても自分に合っていて、それが自分への自信につながると思っています。授業面では、まだ慣れていないのでついていくのが結構大変ですが、陸上だけやればいいという考えはなく、学業とスポーツを切り替えて考えられるのも中央大学陸上部の強みだと思っています。


  -How do you feel after the first week of the All-Japan Track and Field Championships?



  Hemphill: I’m a bit tired. I have some muscle pain, but I’m OK mentally. As I have another week of completion at the championships this year, I will aim to become a champion. We’ll be competing in the All-Japan Intercollegiate Track and Field Championships, the biggest event for college athletes, in September. I want to make a good contribution to my team.

ヘンプヒル 若干疲労はありますね。そんなに痛みはないので精神的には大丈夫ですが、今回は日本選手権が2週続けてあるので、優勝を狙っていきたいですね。そして、大学生の大会で最も大きい全カレ(全日本陸上インカレ)という大会が9月にあるので、チームにしっかりと貢献していきたいです。 

  - Do you have any rivals?



  Hemphill: My rivals are Chie Kiriyama in the combined event and Ayako Kimura in the 100-meter hurdle event. But I should say they are my aims rather than rivals.

ヘンプヒル 混成だと、桐山知恵さん(モンテローザ)、100mハードルだと木村綾子さんです。ライバルというよりも、目標にする選手という感じですね。

 -How do you get along with your teammates?



  Hemphill: Talking of sports clubs, you might imagine a completely hierarchical society. But our club isn’t at all. We enjoy an environment where both juniors and seniors prod each other and practice without minding their relationships. For that reason, I really enjoy my practice. We encourage each other and improve our ability. We can concentrate ourselves without feeling any pressure.

ヘンプヒル 体育会系と言うと、完全なるタテ社会のイメージがあると思うのですが、実際の練習は先輩後輩が関係なくお互いが刺戟しあえるような環境にあります。そのせいか、すごく練習が楽しいです。チームメイトがお互い声をかけ合いながら高めていける、プレッシャー感じずに集中できるので。


  -Tell us about your hardest experience so far, if any.



  Hemphill: I had one when I was a first grader in my high school. That was when I switched to heptathlon from quadrathon I had played in my junior high. I couldn’t bear the switchover. Or rather I couldn’t work as well as I had imagined. I even thought of giving it up. I felt so awful and struggled desperately without producing any results for a year.

ヘンプヒル 高校1年生の時ですね。中学では四種競技をしていたので、高校になり七種に変わった時、その変化に耐えられなかったというか、想像していたような力が発揮できなかったんです。陸上を辞めたいとまで思いました。辛くて、結果も出ずに、1年間辛いまま必死にもがきました。


  -How did you get over?



  Hemphill: Actually, I had a serious injury in the winter of my first-grade year. That was one of the reasons I had a hard time. I practiced as much as I could to get my confidence back. Looking back, I think I owe what I am to that hard work. It was only after I became a second grader that I didn’t hate to do practice. At that moment, I began to enjoy myself.

ヘンプヒル 実は、1年の冬に大きい怪我をしてしまい、それも辛かった理由の一つでした。自信をつけなくてはと思い、とにかく練習量をこなしました。今思うと、そこで踏ん張れたことが今の自分に繋がってると思います。嫌々競技をしなくなったのは高校2年生からで、途端に楽しめるようになりました。


  -Are there any particular persons you want to thank as an athlete?



  Hemphill: I would like to thank Mr. Uchida, our coach during my junior high and high school days. He started looking after me when I was in the first grade of junior high. I didn’t do quite well at first and I wasn’t much interested in track and field, to be honest. I failed many times, but he was patient enough. He taught me to enjoy playing in track and field. I owe him what I am today. I also want to thank my parents. Many track and field athletes have parents who were once athletes themselves. But my parents had no such experiences. Perhaps because of that, they never tell me what I should do. They often told me not to worry too much about failure. I guess I had less pressure because of that. I want to thank my parents for their support.


ヘンプヒル 中高の顧問の内田先生です。中一から面倒を見てくださって、最初の方は特に活躍も出来ずに、陸上にそこまでの興味もなかったんです。けれどその後も、いろんな失敗をしても気長に見守ってくださったし、陸上が楽しいと思わせてくれました。先生のおかげでここまでこれたと思っています。



  -Finally, tell us about your aspiration.



  Hemphill: College life isn’t as long as it would seem. I want to break the Japanese records before my graduation. Anyway I’d like to keep growing. I’m not quite sure yet, but I want to become a professional in the future, with an eye on the Olympic Games. I cannot imagine my future clearly for now, so I’d like to do my best in my immediate races and renew my best records bit by bit. Anyway, I’ll aim to break the Japanese records.
  ヘンプヒル いようで短い大学生活4年で、日本を更新したいです。とにかく成していきたい。まだ明ではないのですが、将来的にはプロになり、オリンピックも野に入れていきたい。今は想像もつかないので、とにかく目の前にある合を確実にこなしていき、少しずつ自己ベストを更新していきたいです。とにかく、日本を目指します。


(Interviewed by: Manae  Hirose & Toshihiro Horibe)