Ayaka Mukae (insert) at the Asia Youth Games with her gold medal, Japan also won silver in the Women’s Individual Foil event
Ayaka Mukae is a 15-year-old fencer who left her home in Fukuoka in 2011, to attend the JOC Elite Academy. In August she won gold at the 2013 Asia Youth Games. She hopes to represent Japan at a home olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
What would it mean to you to compete in front of a home crowd at the 2020 Olympic games?
My only goal is to win a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics. I would be able to repay the people who have helped me by having them watch me compete. And with all the support from the Japanese people, I think I could really show my full potential.
Japan won silver in the Men’s Team Foil event at the 2012 Olympics. Image: Kyudo/AP/Press Association Images
Having seen Great Britain’s success in London, do you think a home crowd can make a difference to the amount of medals a country wins?
I think it does. The encouragement athletes receive in the environment they grew up in, from people who understand their point of view and the emotional support, can end up having an effect on the number of medals those athletes can win.
The National Stadium in Tokyo’s Harumi district would be at the centre of the Olympic Village should Tokyo be awarded the 2020 Olympics Image: Noriake Sasaki/AP/Press Association Images
Have you seen the plans for Tokyo 2020 and are you excited about them?
I have. What interested me most about the plans is the compact venue placement. I that having to travel a short travel distance is an important factor for maintaining concentration. It will also be easier for the people who come to cheer us on to get to the venue, so they will be able to experience the atmosphere of the village and the event.
Fencing was a big draw the last time the Olympics were held in Tokyo, in 1964. Image: AP/Press Association Images
Why do you think Tokyo will make a good host city for the 2020 Olympics?
I think that it will make a good host because the Tokyo Olympics held in 1964 were a big success, and a lot of the competition venues are still here.
The numbers “2020” are displayed on Tokyo Tower Image: AP/Press Association Images
How excited is your generation about the possibility of Tokyo 2020?
It is a very important event held just once every four years, and there is also a strong possibility it will be held in Tokyo, so I think a lot of people are really hoping for it.
The opening ceremony of the 1964 Olympics which were held in Tokyo. Image: RCA/AP/Press Association Images
Who should host the 2020 Games?
I believe that they will be held in Tokyo.
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