TOKYO, May 19 — Kasumi Ishikawa, who represented Japan in women’s table tennis, expressed gratitude for farmers nationwide who supported her with delicious food.
Addressing her retirement during a news conference in Tokyo on May 18, Ishikawa stressed that eating has been the most important and fundamental part of building up her body.
“I could hold on as I was able to eat a lot of Japan’s delicious farm and livestock products,” Ishikawa said.
Ishikawa began playing table tennis at the age of 7 and won an Olympic women’s team medal three times in a row, starting with the 2012 London Olympic Games.
As an athlete belonging to the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH), she has been involved in promotion of Japan-grown agricultural and livestock products.
Explaining the reason why she decided to retire, Ishikawa said, “I felt I’ve done everything I can.”
She said managing her health had been the biggest challenge during her career, adding that she learned how important it is to have a well-balanced diet.
She spoke of her experience of taking rice and a rice cooker with her when competing abroad to make rice balls to eat before matches.
“I was heading to matches feeling energized,” she said.
She thanked farmers who supported her life as an athlete and said, “I want to continue getting power from eating a lot of delicious food and contribute to the world of table tennis in a new way.”