Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016 2016
Ashida HAJIMU biography
Osaka-born ASHIDA Hajimu has never considered his disability to be a handicap. He cannot move his right arm freely as a result of a cancerous tumour which was diagnosed when he was five years old, but is a key member of Japan's para athletics team preparing for a home Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
Ashida grew up a sports-mad child, playing table tennis in junior high school using his left hand despite being right-hand dominant. When he moved on to high school, he joined the track club, where he blossomed as a 400m runner. It was a passion he continued into university, during which time he made his international debut at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships in 2013.
However, a setback followed – Ashida missed out on qualifying for the 2014 Asian Para Games, which caused some long soul-searching. "When I was not able to compete at the 2014 Asian Para Games, I was worried about my future as an athlete. I even considered leaving the Para athletics scene." But the Japanese took things in his stride, choosing to switch from his favoured 400m event to the jumping lane.
Since then, Ashida has made it to the international podium – he won Paralympic bronze in Rio as part of Japan's 4x100m T42-47 relay team, 2017 World Championships bronze in triple jump and the 4x100m relay, and 2018 Asian Para Games bronze in long jump. A move to Australia followed at the end of 2018 as Ashida sought to work on the basics with an Australian jumping coach, Alex Stewart.
Ashida holds the Japanese national records in his category in both the long jump (7.15m) and triple jump (13.79m). With a home Paralympics on the horizon, his profile in Japan could well increase exponentially in the coming months.