Mr.Shuhei Iwasaki

Hopes and Dreams for Getting the Gold

What got you into weightlifting?

My body was always very frail. As a child, I was often so sick and I couldn’t go to school. Even as a college student, my total body weight never surpassed 49 kg. I considered getting into sports in hopes of building some physical strength before graduating and going out into the working world. I wondered if I’d ever be able to change this weak body of mine.
The one who really encouraged me to keep challenging myself was an upperclassman on the weightlifting team. I went to check out one of the team’s practices and while I was practicing lifting one of the bars he said, “you’re pretty strong.” That single comment gave me the courage to strengthen myself and made me believe even I could gain enough weight to compete if I tried hard enough.
I was absorbed in weightlifting all four years of university and eventually took over the role of captain when the upperclassman I spoke of before graduated. After graduating, I was really busy and wasn’t able to compete as much as I would’ve liked. I did keep in regular contact with the previous captain though.
It’s a shame he’s already passed on. If not for him, I would never have become as passionate about weightlifting as I am today. Then, I got the opportunity to start competing again once I retired.

What encouraged you to participate WMG and other such international competitions?

I was quite afraid of competing in my first international competition but surprisingly received 8th place on my first try. From there, I got 7th place, 6th place—I just kept ranking higher and higher each time I competed. To tell you the truth, the only reason my rank rose was because there were less and less participants each time. I always came in last place. *laughs*
I received the silver medal after a lot of practice and hard work at the previous WMG held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017. Now, I’m fired up and aiming to get a gold medal at WORLD MASTERS GAMES (WMG) 2021 KANSAI.
Together with a partner at the promotion booth of WMG 2021 in Auckland, 2017
Together with a partner at the promotion booth of WMG 2021 in Auckland, 2017

What aspect of lifelong sports do you enjoy the most?

After starting to participate in competitions again, I feel like I’m making concrete progress toward my own goals. While working, I always felt as if I was acting as a member of a group rather than myself. Maybe I was just aiming to complete whatever goal my company set for me.
Since retiring, I get a real sense of joy from racking up achievements while doing something I like. I finally feel confident in my ability as a weightlifter.

What gives you motivation to continue weightlifting ?

One thing is the guideline set by the Sinclair Coefficient. This worldwide weightlifting coefficient info helps weightlifters understand how to maintain or increase their strength as they get older. By taking this data into consideration, one can see the lowest record for their age group and set a realistic goal without becoming disillusioned or burnt out.

Another source of motivation is friends who also compete in weightlifting. I always look forward to meeting with friends from overseas at competitions and sharing our current records or progress. Training and meeting up with friends in Japan is a blast too. Both bring me joy and push me to keep trying my best.

Can you tell us a bit about your future goals?

In the winter of 2018, I was diagnosed with spinal canal stenosis. At that time, I scaled down my training and focused on maintaining my flexibility. Little by little, I’d like to improve my physical condition, get in tip-top shape, and go for the gold at WORLD MASTERS GAMES (WMG) 2021 KANSAI. It’s frustrating to not be able to train like I’d like to, but I’m still holding onto my dream.

Every morning, I drink tea from a glass that has “Hopes and Dreams” written on it.

I want to keep at it ‘til I’m 100. I believe in my heart I can do it.