Tag Archives: Japanese biathlon

Mikito Tachizaki: The Man from Japan!

MTAchi

Mikito Tachizaki is a Japanese biathlete who was born in Towada on the 17th of May 1988. He is also the reason why Fuyuko Suzuki disappeared last season and Fuyuko Tachizaki appeared on the World Cup. Well done to the detectives among you – that’s right they got married!

Originally like many biathletes he began his career as a cross-country skier competing for Japan on the FIS World Cup and at the Universiade. Realising that biathlon is much better he changed disciplines in 2011 and made his debut on the IBU Cup and then a year later moved on to the World Cup.

Unusually for a former cross-country athlete he is actually a fantastic shooter. Many athletes who make the switch between the sports rely on the ski speed to help them in biathlon and can struggle on the shooting range. Not so for Mikito, he is a great shot. The best result of his career so far came last year in the Oestersund Pursuit race where he came 51st and broke into the Top 60 for the first time. He improved 9 places from his Sprint result of 60th missing only two targets. Marriage must agree with him.

In fact it’s not only in a relationship will you find the Tachizakis. They also make a formidable Single Mixed Relay team. In the two races that were held last season they finished 10th in both of them. The first race in Oestersund saw them miss 7 targets but in the other race in Canmore they only missed 3. Both shoot really well and should improve that result next season. Unfortunately the Single Mixed Relay and the Mixed Relay are usually scheduled for the same day and so one or both of them have to take part in two races within a few hours which doesn’t help their chances in either.

Next season will be another chance to see continued improvement from Mikito. He beat his previous best result by 24 places last season and if he can repeat that feat he will be in the Top 40 and score his first World Cup points. His shooting is great but he needs to improve his ski speed if he wants to do it. His best chance of success will be alongside his wife in the Single Mixed Relay and with a bit of luck a podium in that event is not out of the question. With the next two Winter Olympics in Asia he will be trying his best to do well in those competition as they are so close to home. Watch out for the Man from Japan!

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Suzuki Swift!

suzuki

Don’t worry I am not a second hand car salesman tempting you to buy a car! No, it’s my post about Japanese biathlete Fuyuko Suzuki.Japan is probably not the first nation that you think of when it comes to biathlon but they have a long if not greatly successful tradition in the sport. They had 2 participants in Seefeld, Austria in the 1964 Olympic Games where there was only 1 biathlon event and have continued sending them to every Olympics since.

Their best ever result came unsurprisingly in their home Olympics in Nagano in 1998 when Ryoko Takahashi finished an amazing 6th in the 15km Women’s Individual. Another famous Japanese biathlete is Isa Hidenori who competed in 3 Olympics and his best result was a 10th place on the World Cup in Pokljuka in 2009/10.

Their current star Fuyuko was born in Akita, Japan on the 13th of January 1989. During high school she was a cross country skier and then chose to make the change to biathlon as she felt it would give her a better chance to succeed. She is currently in the Armed Forces and made her biathlon debut in Oberhof in 2009.

She made her Olympic debut for Japan in Vancouver 2010 at the age of 21. Her best performance was 44th in the Sprint. She also finished 54th in the Pursuit and the Individual. In Sochi she was 39th in the Sprint, 32nd in the Pursuit, 52nd in the 15km and 13th with her teammates in the Women’s relay. She also took part in the Asian Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2011 winning silver in the 15km Individual and she helped Japan to a team bronze in the relay.

Suzuki made some good progress last season as she achieved her career best result in Ruhpolding taking 13th place in the Individual. In fact her 3 best ever results have come in that event as she finished 18th, again in Ruhpolding 2011/12, and 19th in Oestersund in 2009/10. She also managed 4 Top 40 results last season which was an improvement from only 2 the year before.

So Fuyuko has a long summer to continue training and try and improve on her results from last year. One of her aims must be to break into the TOP 10 and the Individual event is probably her best chance to do this. She has always had good shooting statistics and this is shown in her results from the 15km where an accurate shot is of vital importance to avoid time penalties. If she can improve on her ski speed surely she will enjoy even better results by being a little more Suzuki Swift!

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