Ippei Watanabe, a student from Waseda’s School of Sport Sciences, was greeted by President Kamata at the Okuma Kaikan Building on February 2 and commemorated for his remarkable achievement of establishing a world record recently. Under the celebratory mood, Waseda Bear presented Watanabe with a 2020 Tokyo Olympic t-shirt.
Watanabe expressed his gratitude for all the support he received. He said, “For me, the final at Rio Olympics was the most disappointing experience in my life. Since then, I have trained daily, but I’m quite surprised that I was able to set the world record despite not being in the best of conditions. I hope to break my own record in the World Aquatics Championships in July and win the Tokyo Olympics with a new world record three years from now.”
Comments from the University
Keisuke Okuno, Head Coach
Ippei’s dedicated efforts towards training since the Rio Olympics made this achievement attainable. We hope that he will continue to persevere and advance his record in the upcoming Japan Aquatic Championships (April), FINA World Aquatics Championships (July), and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Satoru Kajikawa, Coach
This remarkable achievement was made in the midst of training towards the Japan Aquatics Championships in April. Ippei was not in his best physical condition due to university examinations, but this was possible because of the high expectations Ippei held for himself. He is still young, and he will surely become Japan’s star athlete. Yet, he has not reached his full potential yet, so I hope he will work hard towards his next step.
Kaoru Kamata, Waseda University President
Congratulations to Mr. Watanabe for setting an unprecedented record of 2 minutes and 6.67 seconds. This record, the first in human history to break 2 minutes and 7 seconds, is incredibly marvelous. Although he broke the Olympic record in Rio, Ippei unfortunately was not able to exhibit his best in the final round. Using this disappointment as a springboard, Ippei significantly improved his performance in such a short period of time. This achievement will not only encourage Ippei but inspire many Waseda University students, faculty and staff members, and alumni.
Ever since its founding, Waseda University has been proud of being accomplished in both academics and sports. In 2014, the University initiated the Waseda Athlete Program (WAP), and we believe Ippei’s record is part of the program’s outcome. Waseda University also established the Olympic and Paralympic Project Promotion Section, providing university-wide support for Waseda student and alumni athletes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. This achievement is a checkpoint for Ippei, and we hope you will continue to strive and do your best in the future. Congratulations!
Jun Tsuchiya, Senior Dean of the Faculty of Sport Sciences
Congratulations. This was the first world record ever to be established ever since the founding of the School of Sport Sciences in 2003. Even as Waseda University’s history, it was the first time 60 years. We are extremely excited for and proud of Ippei. In the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we hope that he will earn the gold medal, with an even faster time. From both education and research, the Faculty of Sport Sciences will continue to support all athletes. Keep up the great work!