Mr.Masasumi Kawato

To take on the world and laugh in the face of adversity together as Team SAMURAI

Compete in the 2015 fimba Croatia game
Compete in the 2015 fimba Croatia game

What made you start competing internationally?

Due to the age limit for the official leagues of the Japan Basketball Association, players over 60 are not eligible to play. To find a forum in which I could compete, I chose to look for competitions overseas.
There are categories for players up to the age of 75 in other countries. Once I found such competitions, I made it a goal to continue challenging myself as a player in them. And WMG was one of those new challenges.

What was you impression of WMG?

Together with oversea players after their match in the past World Masters Games 2017 Auckland
Together with oversea players after their match in the past World Masters Games 2017 Auckland
I was surprised by the welcome at the reception and the large number of participants. I was able to talk to someone whose partner saves up to go to WMG every four years. Hearing that made me once again realize how special this event is.
Also, we got to play the USA team twice. If we were in Japan, it would be just a fleeting dream to play against US basketball teams. The results of the games certainly mattered, but the experience and fun left a much deeper impression.

How do you prepare to face off against overseas teams?

Each of the members practices with their local team and the whole team only meets about once a year. Even so, we have many members who were remarkable players in their prime, so we might be the number one team in the 65-and-over category in Japan.
Besides being the first team in Japan with all members aged 60 or more, we also organize competitions. In the eight years since the first competition we organized, the number of players over 60 has gradually increased.

You have been actively working to increase the age permitted for participating in competitions. What are your thoughts after working on it all this time?

I had many bad memories during my active years. I only began to enjoy basketball after I became an adult. No matter how old I am, I give it my all when I am on the court and end the game feeling refreshed. The after-game parties are also great fun.
Every extra year in makes a bigger difference as we grow older. Even so, I want to keep playing for as long as I am able. I’m happy that I found basketball and am able to think of it in such a way.

Please tell us about your next goals?

Winning a medal in an international competition. Our record over these 10 years is six wins, 18 losses and a draw, so we would like to achieve some remarkable result after so many attempts.
I am currently coaching primary school kids basketball and I often explain to them the fun of doing sport lifelong. They enjoy it when I show them photos taken of overseas competitions. I want to spread the joy of continuing to sports within one’s limits by keeping challenging myself and telling people that “I can go on”.