Morii not hanging up his skis just yet

Due to enter his 13th season in 2015-16, Morii has unfinished business and is looking ahead to 2018. 30 Sep 2015
Taiki Morii

Japan's Taiki Morii won the men's giant slalom sitting event on the first day of the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Copper Mountain, Colorado in the USA.

ⒸJoe Kusumoto

“I think that the one of our secrets of our success is to share the skill among athletes,”

Japan’s triple Paralympian Taiki Morii has confirmed that he is looking ahead to his 13th competitive ski season and the prospect of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

The 35 year-old sit-skier failed to retain his world titles in giant slalom and super-combined at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Panorama, Canada, but knows exactly what he has to do to get back to winning form.

Speaking about the option to retire, Morii said: “I do not know such a feeling, but I will feel such in the future. However, I have many issues to be accomplished by myself before that happens.

“I need to improve my physical strength,” he continued. “I wish to analyse the issues which shall be resolved and will improve spirit, skill, physical strength and my tools before going into the season.”

The 2015-16 season is considered to be a stepping stone by the four-time Paralympic medallist, who posted his best result with super-G silver medals in 2006 and 2014 and won four World Championships golds between 2010 and 2015.

While PyeongChang 2018 is the clearly defined goal according to Morii, there is still an Asian Cup title to win at the venue for the next Games in YoungPyong, South Korea, in March and World Cup medals to obtain.

Morii and fellow countrymen Takeshi Suzuki and Akira Kano have staged one of the sport’s best rivalries over the past couple of seasons, something which will continue into 2015-16 when the World Cup season gets underway in January in Abtenau, Austria.

“We [Suzuki and I] were together during our training in New Zealand. We do our physical training together. We go have private dinners,” Morii said of the competition between the skiers.

Morii also credits Japan’s national ski coach Kazushi Shido for the success of the country’s programme.

“I think that the one of our secrets of our success is to share the skill among athletes,” he said.

Morii says he was inspired to compete by the 1998 Paralympic Games, held in Nagano. With three Asian cities set to host the next three summer and winter Paralympic Games, the potential to inspire future generations is not lost on him. His aim post-retirement is to coach junior level athletes.

“I hope the attractiveness and excellency of para-sports can be spread throughout the continent,” Morii said. “I also hope the environment that will be created through these events will help Asia take a leadership role in the Paralympic world.”

The first major event of the 2015-16 IPC Alpine Skiing season is a Europa Cup in Landgraaf, the Netherlands, between 19-20 November. The full calendar can be viewed at IPC Alpine Skiing’s website.