Mr.Seiji Sakamoto

God of Squash

What made you start squash?

I started playing badminton when I was in high school. A senior who won the Inter-High School Championships said, 'If you join the badminton club, you can become the best in Japan.' I was attracted to the word 'the best in Japan'. I worked hard every day for rigorous training without rest.
After that, I participated in the National Sports Festival. I won the final and got the match points ahead of the second-ranked senior in the world, but I lost the game. I cried with so much regret. I still vividly remember the scene.
I met squash after becoming an employed person. I went to the squash club after seeing a leaflet saying 'Why don't you try squash?' At a sports shop. I played against a coach who came to Japan from Australia to spread squash and lost a lot. I was terribly disappointed! I wondered, 'Why can't I win even though it's the same racket competition as badminton?' I hurt my pride. Then my heart ignited and I thought, 'Let's master squash.'

From that day on, you set a lot of records in squash.

I was confident in myself because I had been training so hard that I could tear my blood.
My heyday was at the top 5-10 in the world. The manager of the world champion team said, 'Seiji Sakamoto is a talented person who can become the top three in the world.'

Please tell me the charm of squash

By using four walls to change the angle, height, strength and weakness, it is a fierce competition with infinite assembly. It's hard to hit as expected. What you can do today may not be possible the next day. You need to train your legs, abs, and back every day, and hone your skills. I think the higher the level, the deeper it is.
Even a ball that can never be hit back can often be hit back without giving up. It is also a big attraction that it is a sport that makes use of such an attitude of not giving up.

How did you balance your work and squash?

I was a car salesman. I wanted to be the top at work, so I made a trial and error. It's said to be a balance between work and squash, but I think it's not that you can't make time, but that you just don't try to make it. By effectively using your limited and precious time, your outlook on work will change.

You are also promoting squash.

As the first Japanese squash champion, it is my lifelong mission to develop Japanese squash and develop strong players.
Since squash is a major sport overseas, I was studying overseas expeditions and studying how to make it exciting in Japan.
'How to expand the number of Japanese squash athletes?' 'How can we improve the level of athletes and motivate their rivals?' 'To make squash fans and everyone interested. What should I do? 'I have been thinking for a long time.
When I became the managing director of the Japan Squash Association, I wanted to catch up with the overseas squash world. We have built and implemented the current tournament outline, tournament rules, tournament standards, ranking system, point system, etc. by referring to the overseas tournament system and the structure of other sports associations.
At last, I think squash has become more popular in Japan. This wonderful squash is everything in my life.
I will contribute to the development of squash in Japan.

You will also participate in WMG2021 Kansai.

I will participate in WMG for the first time. I am currently unable to practice, but I am planning to undergo rehabilitation treatment and challenge WMG. I am grateful that my long life as a player is due to the rehabilitation treatment.
Of course, since I will participate in WMG, I will aim for a gold medal.