- 競技（後出は大会、compete は競う）
- off ～
- 日本プロサーフィン連盟（後出 ISA は国際サーフィン連盟）
- counter with ～
- place ～
- (be) akin to ～
- lower back
- herniated disc
- 手術（後出 operation も同意）
- focus on ～
- go through ～
Riding the Olympic Wave
"I was hoping that surfing would become an official Olympic competition, as I was determined to become a professional surfer since I was 13," said Omura Nao, 25, as she looked forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "Now I'm working toward my dream."
While she used to consider surfing to be a leisure activity, it is actually an international sport with professional athletes competing worldwide. The sport will make its debut as an official Olympic competition in Tokyo in 2020. Just as in gymnastics and figure skating, athletes' technique and ability to perform difficult maneuvers are rated by judges. Moreover, surfers must deal with constantly changing waves and winds.
Omura began surfing when she was 11 years old. She spent her time practicing on the sea off the Shonan coast, and she was selected as the youngest member of the Japanese national team after only two years. She turned professional at 17 － the same year she became the JPSA grand champion of the year.
At only 154 centimeters tall, Omura competes alongside foreign athletes considerably larger than herself. While they execute big and dynamic movements, she counters with great technique, like the sharpness of her turns. Omura placed seventh at the ISA World Surfing Games last year, and was also chosen for the Japanese national team for the world games held in September this year.
The world games are akin to a world cup of surfing, and they were all the more significant for being held in Japan for the first time in 28 years. However, Omura had been out of competition since May due to worsening lower back pain from a herniated disc. She decided to have surgery and miss the world games so she could focus on preparing for Tokyo 2020.
After the July operation, she has gone through rehabilitation. Due to her absence, her ranking has plummeted, but in October she returned to competition. Step by step, Omura is advancing toward her target.
"It's been hard not being able to surf," she said, her dream firmly in her sights. "I don't regret my decision. I'm just going to do the best I can until the Olympic Games."
(By Matsuki Emi. Related story on page 4)
[本文 - 368 words]