Hard of hearing rugby player at university challenged

Otsuka Takayuki, a hard of hearing Teikyo University student, practices dashing on slope with his teammates.
(photo: http://www.asahi.com/sports/spo/TKY201105020277.html)

May 2, 2011

A born-deaf rugger OTSUKA Takayuki was admitted to Teikyo University, one of the strongest university rugby teams which won straight for 2 years in a row, this spring. "I want to see the possibility as a member of the Deaf community."

He heights 166 centimeters and his body appears small among over 100 stronger and taller teammates. He puts off the hearing aid, and runs hard. He carefully watches the moves of his teammates, taps the teammate when he doesn't understand, and uses body language to communicate.

Otsuka declined the family's recommendation for the school for the deaf, instead chose Teikyo University because he believed, "The university is good at upbringing of the player from an unnamed school".

It was not sweet for him. He was placed to the D group, the lowest one, in teaming remunerative. "The practice is very hard, and I thought once I might have made a wrong decision. But this was what I chose myself and I will never give up."

After he started playing rugby when he was a fourth grader, his introverted character changed. He was on the local team representing Oita Prefecture when he was in the junior high school. He was captain at the high school. He participates in the training camp of the Deaf Rugby Club as a university student.

Head Coach Iwade speaks, "Otsuka has a terrible challenge mind and has something that deepens bonds of the team". Captain Morita said, "I know he has practiced to the utmost. We talk to him more so that he may not feel uneasy ." Even teammates learned sign language, too.

Otsuka's goal is to compete at the official rugby game and contribute the victory. The viewers who see the game on the TV would certainly learn that even if he is deaf, he can do it.' My virtue is that I have a strong mind. Absolutely, I will not be defeated."

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