Having won two gold medals and one silver so far at the Beijing Winter Paralympics, Japanese Alpine sit skier Momoka Muraoka said Tuesday her desire to show her full potential on the slopes motivates her more than any rivalry.
"Of course I want to win against my rivals, but a stronger emotion is to ski my best and in my own way," Muraoka said at a press conference held at the athletes' village in Yanqing.
"I'm happy I was able to improve my ranking and win gold in a competition that I couldn't before," the Japanese Paralympic team captain added.
Muraoka said leadership is not her natural forte, but she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her predecessors by being a good role model.
The Saitama Prefecture native expressed joy over team member Taiki Kawayoke winning Japan's first men's long distance standing cross-country skiing gold on Monday, saying "We may be young, but we are doing well in our respective competitions."
Also attending the press conference was fellow Alpine sit skier Taiki Morii, who was full of praise for Muraoka's skills.
"When I saw her ski the downhill and super-G these games, I felt she did the world's most beautiful turn, even compared with men. I feel really happy to have a younger teammate like this," he said.
The 41-year-old is taking part in his sixth Winter Paralympics and seeking his first gold. He has won a medal at every games since 2006, maintaining the record at Beijing with two bronze so far.
With International Women's Day falling on Tuesday, Muraoka said she hopes to see more women with disabilities take up sit skiing and not be daunted by the thought of heading into the mountains or using specialized equipment.
Only seven women competed in the downhill sitting event at the Beijing Games this year.
Muraoka, who won gold in the giant slalom at the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, still has the slalom and giant slalom events remaining at the Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre.
While the 25-year-old admitted that the course for the technical races was difficult, she also expressed an eagerness to take on the challenge in the days ahead.
"(My performance) will be up to how well my body, emotions and gear can adapt," she said.
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