Rising Stars Clinic
What Is the Rising Stars Clinic?
The Rising Stars Clinic is an original social contribution activity of TDK. Interconnecting with TDK's communication message of "Attracting Tomorrow," the Rising Stars Clinic provides an opportunity for young people eager to open up a new future to engage in exchange with top athletes and to experience the world's foremost places of challenge at firsthand. As an Official WA (World Athletics) Partner, TDK has continued to hold the clinic regularly in conjunction with international events of the WA (World Athletics) for students interested in track and field athletics with the aim of encouraging them to become athletes in the future.
Fourteen top athletes from six countries selected from among legendary former stars and up-and-coming talent, have cooperated in this program. They have included gold medalists and world record holders. The clinic is popular among not only the young participants but the top athletes as well.
By interlinking its corporate stance of contributing to the realization of the future society through its proprietary technology with the "challenging the future" spirit of young people eager to open up the future, TDK seeks to convey the depth and fascination of being active on the world stage and to support athletes continuing their insatiable challenge of records and personal bests.
Fourth Clinic (Eugene, July 2022)
The fourth Rising Stars Clinic was held during the 18th World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, the United States. The participating children were coached by four athletes: Trey Cunningham (USA), winner of the silver medal in the men’s 110 m hurdle at this year’s Championships; Sinclaire Johnson (USA), winner of the women’s 1500 m race at the 2022 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships; Ashton Eaton (USA), a former decathlon athlete who won the gold medal two consecutive times in both the Olympics and the World Athletics Championships; and Valerie Adams (New Zealand), a former shot putter who won gold medals in four consecutive World Athletics Championships and two consecutive Olympics games. The two active athletes and two ambassadors served as special coaches to the children, providing guidance on a range of activities from warming up to actual running technique.
The 16 children who participated in the clinic, members of local track and field clubs, received instruction from the special coaches through stretching and preparatory exercises in the warm-up area, followed by a spike check at the gathering site, and then entered the track with team introductions, taking the same route as the actual competitors. The children were divided into four teams and ran a 4 × 100 m relay race on the track in the main stadium, with the same experience as athletes who participate in actual competition.
The TDK logo was displayed on the screen board and other signs in the main stadium, and an MC described the situation live. After the competition ended, the winners were interviewed in the mixed zone like top athletes and other activities were conducted to create an atmosphere like that of the actual games.
Instructors/Guides: Current Top Athletes and Ambassadors (Four Persons)
- Trey Cunningham (USA): silver medalist in the men’s 110 m hurdle at the World Athletics Championships (2022)
- Sinclaire Johnson (USA): gold medalist in the women’s 1500 m race at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (2022)
- Ashton Eaton (USA): gold medalist in the decathlon at the World Athletics Championships (2013 and 2015) and at the Olympics Games (2012 and 2016)
- Valerie Adams (New Zealand): gold medalist in the shot putter at the World Athletics Championships (2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013) and at the Olympics Games (2012 and 2016)
- 16 elementary and junior high school students selected from local track and field clubs
Comments by Participants
- “In addition to learning running technique, I really enjoyed the experience of being an actual athlete. This was a good experience.”
- “I really enjoyed myself and I hope to participate again!”
Comments by the Participating Athletes
- “I coached the students on basic running skills, and even though track and field is often an individual competition, there are also many things that can be learned by interacting with team members during competition in a relay event, and I hope that the students are able to make the most of this experience in competition in the future.”
- “The behind-the-scenes tour was an opportunity for the students to experience pre-competition preparations in the same way as a leading athlete. This is not something that people often have the opportunity to experience, and as a track and field athlete, I was very happy to be able to provide this opportunity to young athletes who are starting to spread their wings.”
Third Clinic (Yokohama, May 2019)
The third clinic was held in conjunction with World Relays Yokohama 2019, which were taking place in Japan. The following top athletes took part in the event. It was the third time for Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake to serve as an instructor. He is very enthusiastic about this program by TDK.
Facing three world top athletes head on, the young participants looked tense. It was not long before they appeared to open up, thanks to warm comments by the athletes such as "Team, huddle up! Let's do our best!". There were also many cheerful and kind coaching gestures, such as high fives and self-introductions. To begin with, the athletes showed the youngsters how to stretch and warm up in the designated area, learning how important it is to train and strengthen their body. They then experienced professional gear inspections in the Call Room, later entering the main stadium team by team taking the same route as the athletes who compete in the World Relays. The athletes constantly asked questions like, "If you sit next to your opponent in the Call Room, what would you do to stay calm?" This enabled the young participants to imagine what goes on in the athlete's minds, they were now physically and emotionally engaged. The finale was a 4x100m relay race on the main track, followed by mock media interviews in the stadiums' mixed zone.
After the event, the participating students and their families were invited to watch the tournament. For the students, watching the athletes who just now had been instructing them perform in front of their very eyes in an international contest was an unforgettable experience.
Instructors/guides: Three top athletes
- Shingo Suetsugu (Japan): silver medalist (4 x 100 m) at Beijing Olympics; professional short-distance runner
- Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (UK); gold medalist (4 x 100 m) at IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017
- Aleia Hobbs (USA): gold medalist (4 x 100 m) at IAAF World Relays Yokohama
16 elementary and junior high school students selected from athletic clubs and international schools in the area
Comments by Participants
- "It was really fun and a good experience―quite different from my usual training and lessons."
- "I was so happy to be able to run with top athletes of the world in the same stadium."
- "It was a great feeling to be able to run on the track just like a first-class athlete."
Comment by Shingo Suetsugu
- "I was so pleased to hear the children say they had enjoyed it after running. I like children, and I like enjoying athletics together with them. Like the children, I was a bit nervous, but it was good to have that athlete feeling again. All of the children who participated had a strong desire to win, and it was fascinating to see that reflected in the race. No matter how fast you are, or whether you win or lose, you can also enjoy athletics just by thinking together with the rest of your team about your entry pose. I want children simply to have fun running. This Rising Stars Clinic is a good idea because it brings children and experienced athletes together. It is a valuable time in which children seek to attract the future. I really hope it will be continued."
Second Clinic (Birmingham, March 2018)
The program featured a behind-the-scenes tour in which the participating students from athletic clubs in Birmingham, together with the currently competing top athletes, took a look behind the curtain of an international athletic tournament, thereby having the same experience as actual athletes.
At first the participants were very excited when they saw the top athletes close at hand. Especially when they met Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, a star athlete in the United Kingdom, for the first time, they were so overawed and nervous, they were almost unable to move. In the warming-up space, however, they did warmup exercises with the athletes, and as their bodies loosened up, smiles began to appear on their faces. They began to directly ask questions to the athletes and actively communicate with them.
After the warmup, the participants experienced the actual stewardship of athletes at a tournament, going from the warming-up space to the area for putting on bibs and the waiting area, hearing a talk on ways to enhance mental concentration in the waiting room just prior to entry, and then being led out into the field. Here the participants ran 60 m with the athletes on an actually used track. With the cooperation of Seiko Holdings, the official timer for the tournament, time measurement and photography were conducted at the finish using the latest photo-finish camera for sports events. In addition, there was a happy bonus in the form of a mock interview in the press area with the student who won the race. Finally, the participating students watched the world-class athletes from the stands as they ran on the track.
Instructors/guides: Four top athletes
- Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (UK); gold medalist (4 x 100 m) at IAAF World Athletics Championships in London
- Dominique Scott-Efurd (South Africa); holder of South African national records for 1,500 m and 3,000 m
- Aries Merit (USA); holder of world record for 110 m hurdles
- Jereem Richards (Trinidad and Tobago); bronze medalist (4 x 400 m) at IAAF World Athletics Championships in London
20 students belonging to athletic clubs in Birmingham (aged 12–18 years)
- Track and field athletics is especially popular in Birmingham, and most of the participants were seriously engaged in athletics.
Comments by Participants
- "It was very useful to learn about not only warmup exercises but pre-race mental preparedness as well."
- "Being able to run together with athletes I admire was a very memorable experience."
Comments by Athletes
- "It was a very good opportunity to teach the joy of athletics to the next generation. I hope such events can be held more frequently."
- "I recalled my own feelings as a child when I dreamed of becoming a first-class athlete. It was very stimulating."
First clinic (London, July 2017)
The participating students divided into four teams and, after a warmup, received lessons in running, passing the baton, and so on from the young top athletes acting as instructors and the coach. As icing on the cake, the teams then took part in an actual relay. After having received instruction, the students enjoyed a hotly contested race.
At the end of the event, the students shouted with joy when they were presented with invitation tickets enabling them to watch the World Athletics Championships, to be held at the London Stadium the following month, from a special booth. On the day of their visit, before watching the athletics, they took part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the London Stadium, which enabled them to have a peek behind the curtain of the World Athletics Championships.
Instructors: Four competing young top athletes
- Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (UK); 200 m & 4x100 m
- Noah Lyles (USA); 100/200 m & 4x100 m
- Dominique Scott-Efurd (South Africa); 5,000/10,000 m
- Jake Wightman (UK); 800/1,500 m
Colin Jackson (UK); 110 m hurdles (silver medalist at 1988 Seoul Olympics, gold medalist at 1999 IAAF World Athletics Championships)
Toni Minichiello (UK)
24 students of Stoke Newington School & Sixth Form (aged 13–14 years)
Comments by Participants
- "It was only a half-day clinic, but my use of my legs when running has changed."
- "Being taught one-to-one by my heroes is a memory I'll never forget."
Comments by Athletes
- "In today's event the students and athletes were able to stimulate one another. It was a good day for me too."
- "It was good that we were able to have a real impact that is difficult to get by just watching events."
- "We don't often have the chance to convey the depth of athletics to the next generation through our own experiences, so I really hope such opportunities will increase in the future."
TDK is a comprehensive electronic components manufacturer founded in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, an electromagnetic material.
TDK has been an Official Partner of World Athletics Championships since the first competition held in Helsinki in 1983.