TOKYO2020 MY LEGACY #03: Monika Seryu（TOKYO2020 Paralympics Canoe athlete）
TOKYO2020 MY LEGACY #03: Monika Seryu
Born in Koto-ku, Tokyo. Ms. Monika is determined to excel at TOKYO 2020.
Started canoeing when in junior high school.Ms. Monika got injured during class which required her to use wheelchairs.
After one year of rehabilitation, Ms. Monika went back to para canoe competition in 2014.
She earned 8th in Rio 2016 with just 2 years of canoeing experience.
Expectations are high for her to receive a medal especially among People in Koto-ku.
This interview asked Ms.Monika about her thoughts on Paralympics and TOKYO 2020.
Interview Date 2020.08.08
Thoughts on TOKYO 2020 postponement
At first I saw the 1-year postponement positively since there could be more chance to get close to a medal.
However the team needed to review our entire plan due to the cancellation of all the other mall competitions.
Athletes are peaking with target plans per month, week, and day.
Thus “team Monika”needed to re-develop the plan. Even though in the COVID situation, we could introduce a new plan after a month of postponement.
Ms. Monika’s current situation (as of 2020.08.08)
I started training since July 1st in Ishikawa prefecture and will continue until end of October.
I am heading forward to TOKYO 2020 with 120% volume of my daily training!
Paralympics’ potential energy
Paralympics has a power to change the society. I met a huge energy in Rio.
That energy is so tremendous that can happen “social change” in entire Brazil.
Such powerful Paralympics will be held in Tokyo…which I think is fantastic.I want many people feel the energy through TOKYO 2020.
Paralympics’ impacts beyond games
Not only in the competitions, para also let you connect with society and community.
Prior to the game season, we hold some para trial sessions for school students.
After the games we travel around with medals in hand to tell a message that human beings have unlimited possibility regardless of handicap.
Para can give us opportunities to change people and society.
What Ms. Monika received from previous game
My high school and university had no students on wheelchair besides me.I thought myself as “unique” in a bad meaning due to being a minority.
What I saw in Rio, however, was totally different from anything I had experienced. Many para athletes were there and I found out I was not minority.
Concept of minority and majority differs depending on where you are.Then I do not have to care about such thing too much.
I am okay to be me!
This is what Paralympics taught me.
Legacy to leave at TOKYO 2020
Our existence needs to be known by many people first and I hope TOKYO 2020 to be such chance.
With more understanding, it would be great if events and facilities increase for the handicapped to work out.
TOKYO2020 LEGACY for Ms.Monika
I have a strong desire to give people dream and hope to live.
I would like to make audience motivated, energised after seeing our performance.
For the handicapped, it would be amazing if they find a new life option such as trying canoe.
I heard that Para medalists did a charity for participating the next game in previous games including 2012 London.
They had to do it to join the games. TOKYO 2020 is great chance for me in terms of attention and support, compared with the previous games.
Together with the previous para athletes’ wishes, I would like to do my best to obtain a medal in my home country.
Text and images by Tanaka
Translated by Mina Fukasawa