Photo/IllutrationThe tryout for Japan’s rhythmic gymnastics team Fairy Japan Pola was held at the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences in Tokyo’s Kita Ward on Oct. 6. (Chihiro Ara)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

The Japan rhythmic gymnastics team held a tryout in Tokyo on Oct. 6 to round out its roster in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The team, dubbed Fairy Japan Pola, secured a ticket to the Olympics with its silver medal performance in the all-around competition at the world championships in September.

Thirty-five athletes, aged 14 to 25, including 12 current members, joined the tryout, displaying their flexibility and balance as well as their handling and exchange of balls, hoops and other equipment.

Fairy Japan's silver at the world championship in Baku, Azerbaijan, was the team's first medal since the 1975 world championships, which were boycotted by the Soviet Union and Bulgaria, both with strong teams at the time.

For the ball competition, which is not part of the Olympics, Fairy Japan also landed a gold medal for the first time in team competition.

Tryouts for the team, held once a year, are now in their 15th term.

According to the team's chief manager, Hiroko Yamazaki, the tryout is held annually for athletes, including current members, to ensure the team's strong will to compete in the Olympics.

"We had great results because the veteran and younger athletes mixed well together on the team," Yamazaki said. "At the same time, our members are getting older, so I want to strengthen the ability of the younger athletes even after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in mind."