On October 1, we held the Sumitomo Athletics Festa in the Sumitomo Sogo Ground in Itami, Hyogo. The festa consisted of an athletics workshop for elementary school students and a health-related event for the general public in the morning, and the Sumitomo Electric Cup, a meet that focused on setting new Japanese records, in the afternoon. Since the ground marked its 50th anniversary this year, a commemorative tree-planting ceremony was also held in the morning.
Containing an athletic field, baseball grounds, tennis courts, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool, the Sumitomo Sogo Ground was constructed as a common facility for the entire Sumitomo Group with the aim of developing employees' sound mental and physical health and encouraging their mutual interaction. Partly because our Itami Works is located near the ground, many of our employees, including the members of our athletics club, often use the facility. At Sumitomo Electric, we encourage our employees to play sports, making the facility even more valuable to us.
The afternoon's meet and autograph-signing session were attended by many top Japanese athletes, such as Ms. Kayoko Fukushi (Wacoal), who won the bronze medal at the women's marathon of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow; Ms. Mizuki Matsuda (Daihatsu); Mr. Yuzo Kanemaru (Otsuka Pharmaceutical); Mr. Julian Walsh (Toyo University); and Ms. Maki Wada (Mizuno). Moreover, as a surprise guest, Mr. Shuhei Tada (Kwansei Gakuin University) also attended the autograph-signing session, making the event even more exciting.
The athletics festa marked its sixth anniversary this year, but partly because I had been away from Sumitomo Electric for a long time, I attended the event for the first time. I was excited to directly see athletes whom I had watched on TV, and to directly experience the splendid speed of the athletes sprinting in front of me.
Since our meet focuses on setting new Japanese records, a wide variety of events are held that seldom take place in normal competitions, such as 60-m sprint, 300-m sprint, and 4x200-m relay, giving the event a fun perspective. Actually, it was a valuable experience for me to witness a new Japanese record set in the 200-m hurdle race.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the athletes who did their best; those who supported the event both from inside and outside the company, including members of the Japan Industrial Track & Field Association; and those who came to the venue to cheer for the competition participants. The success of the event was totally thanks to them.
We would like to develop the festa into an even more friendly event that can be joined by a greater number of local residents.