By Lauren Mattera

Japanese modern_pentathlete_Narumi_KurosuJuly 16 - Japan's Modern Pentathlon Association has named earthquake survivor Narumi Kurosu as one of its first ever women athletes to compete in the event at London 2012.

The team consists of 21-year-old Kurosu and 22-year-old teammate Shino Yamanaka.

To gain a place in the Olympic team has always been a life-long dream for Kurosu, and she had forever aspired to follow in the footsteps of her pentathlete father, so as a child she often jogged to school every day and even brushed her teeth left-handed to improve her fencing.

However, when last year's catastrophic earthquake struck her hometown Ibaraki, the prospect of competing at the Olympics seemed to be vanishing right before her eyes.

Her training facilities had been destroyed, and in a country where roughly 100 people practice the sport, the chances of a quick replacement were slim.

Yet, this all changed when she received an unexpected invitation from experienced trainer Jung Chi Park, who was moved by her situation and offered to help her train in South Korea.

Just ten days after the earthquake, Kurosu was in South Korea, enduring gruelling nine-hour daily training sessions with male pentathlon athletes, and getting a crash course in Korean.

Kurosu said: "By going to South Korea, I was able to train together with top athletes and grow mentally, and I've been producing better results since.

"I really look forward to competing in London, and I definitely want to put on a good show for the people of Ibaraki, as the place has been my home ever since I was born."

Modern pentathlete_Narumi_Kurosu_of_Japan
Through the help of Jung Chi Park, the female pentathlete was able to secure a spot on the Japanese national team at May's Asia Oceania Championships 2011 in Chengdu, China.

She is now representing Japan at London 2012, which will hopefully raise the profile of the sport in her country.

Her unique story portrays the significant Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence, and highlights the extraordinary power of sport and how it empowers people to overcome challenges – something of which Japan aims to achieve if there bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics is successful.

Tokyo is currently up against Istanbul and Madrid for the bid to host the 2020 Games, the winner will be announced in September next year.

"I would absolutely love for Tokyo to host the 2020 Games," she said.

"Without a doubt it would be an amazing experience to win a medal in my home country."

There will be 36 men and 36 women at the 100th anniversary of Modern Pentathlon at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, a sport which first appeared at the Stockholm 1912 Games.

The competition will take place on August 11 and 12, at three different Olympic venues: Copper Box for fencing; the Aquatic Centre for swimming; and Greenwich Park for riding and the combined running and shooting event.

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