By ITU on 22/01/17 at 2:39 pm
It is with great sorrow that ITU has learned of the death of Japanese triathlete Hiroaki Kobayahi following accident while out riding at a national team training camp.
“The hearts of all the triathlon family are with Hiroaki’‘s family, friends and the Japanese Triathlon Union,” said ITU President Marisol Casado. “We are all deeply shocked for this tragic news. We extend our condolences to all the triathlon community in Japan.”
“Hiroaki Kobayashi was a triathlete with our high expectation toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. He was an indispensable athlete for Japan’s triathlon world and the national team. We sincerely pray for a peaceful rest of Hiroaki’s soul, and extend our deep condolences to his family and friends for the big loss,” said the Japanese Triathlon Union in a statement shortly after the accident.
Although Kobayahi was immediately flown to a nearby hospital, Kobayahi did not survive the injuries he sustained during the fall.
Just 24 years old, Kobayahi was a member of the Corporate Triathlon Team of Nihon Shokken. A promising rising athlete, he won Japan’s U23 Triathlon Championships in 2015, and finished eighth as an elite in 2016.
Kobayahi has received an outpouring of support on social media, with one athlete saying:
“I met him (Kobayahi) for the first time at one triathlon event just four months after his triathlon trial test. At first glance, I could tell how hard he trained to build up his body and muscles. I was stunned by his performance when he finished second at his first 51.5 k race. To my question of what was his next goal, he clearly answered that he would like to win the U23 Championships in three weeks’ time.
He said, ‘I want to make a U23 national team. I know my ability won’t match the level of the Championships, but I believe the chances are not zero.’
I thought it would never happen as he had only four months of triathlon experience at the time. However, I remember I was impressed by his high spirit and the way he talked in a humble manner. His attitude was so humble and too modest, but, his honest and serious personality appeared through his words. To be honest, I was surprised with the gap between his aspiration and very reserved personality. But, in fact, three weeks later, he won the race.”
The Japanese Triathlon Union continues to work in cooperation with the jurisdictional police for on-going inspections into the incident, pledge to doing whatever it takes in preventing any accidents.