Sports | Mar 31

76-Year-Old Aims for Paralympic Glory

Kyushu, Mar 31 (News On Japan) - Kimie Bessho, a legend in wheelchair table tennis, continues her relentless pursuit of strength, undeterred by the challenges life has thrown her way.

At 76, her sights are firmly set on competing in the Paralympic Games in Paris, a remarkable journey that began at 42 when she was diagnosed with pelvic cancer, leading to a life in a wheelchair. The loss of her husband plunged her into despair, but discovering table tennis transformed her life.

"Without table tennis, I doubt I would have this life. It’s a stroke of luck I’m grateful for, though I never imagined getting this far," Bessho reflected. Since her debut in the Athens 2004 Paralympics, she has competed in four consecutive games, achieving a fifth-place finish at 68, the highest for a Japanese participant at the time. Despite not competing in the Tokyo Paralympics due to injury, at 76, she remains as competitive as ever.

Bessho's dedication to table tennis goes beyond sport; it's her life's purpose. "I want to end my life with a smash," she jests, embodying a spirit of lifelong active engagement. Her journey hasn’t been without setbacks. Last year, a fall at home led to a hip fracture. Yet, her recovery, defying expectations for someone her age, underscores her extraordinary physical condition and determination, fueled by her goal to compete in Paris.

At a national para table tennis tournament in Kobe last week, where top domestic players gathered, Bessho emerged victorious, unbeaten in four matches and utilizing her signature "Butterfly Shot" to secure her win. "Winning is important, but the spirit of challenge is just as crucial. I want to become even stronger," says Bessho, a testament to her unwavering resolve to push the limits, regardless of age.

Source: KTV NEWS


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