by Max Barry

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Oatland RMB

WA Delegate (non-executive): The People's Republic of These United Socialists (elected )

Founder: The Empire of Lennia

Last WA Update:

World Factbook Entry

In a peaceful corner of the world a gentle breeze plays upon vast fields of golden grain. This is Oatland, a free community of nations committed to the ideals of national and regional autonomy and democratic governance.


Regional Resources: 📜 Constitution | 🏛️ Government | 🏅Events | 💬 LinkDiscord Channel

🛠️ Useful tools: LinkFlag maker | LinkNSSuite | LibreNS++ | Guide to Wiki Style Factbooks | LinkNationstates Deconstructed

🎼Music of the month:LinkSymphony No. 3 in F Major, Op. 90 composed by Johannes Brahms



Embassies: Forest, Christmas, Japan, The Western Isles, Haiku, Realm of the Whispering Winds, The Bunny Fire, Equestria, Regionless, The Bar on the corner of every region, Bus Stop, The Illuminati, The Grand Imperial Alliance, The Democratic Commonwealth, nasunia, The Democratic Union, and 3 others.The Fallout Wasteland, 21st Century Rome, and India.

Tags: Democratic, Eco-Friendly, Enormous, Issues Player, National Sovereigntist, Offsite Chat, Regional Government, and Sports.

Regional Power: Moderate

Oatland contains 111 nations, the 151st most in the world.

ActivityHistoryAdministration

Today's World Census Report

The Longest Average Lifespans in Oatland

Nations ranked highly have lower rates of preventable death, with their citizens enjoying longer average lifespans.

As a region, Oatland is ranked 4,557th in the world for Longest Average Lifespans.

NationWA CategoryMotto
1.The Loosely Affiliated Cities of The Peoples Place of LivingScandinavian Liberal Paradise“A place where people can live”
2.The Matriarchy of Luna SuenaLeft-Leaning College State“To the moon!”
3.The Kingdom of NokgarInoffensive Centrist Democracy“We Will Endure”
4.The Eternal Collective of The Ascended Transhumanist SociocracyLeft-wing Utopia“We Are One - We Are All - Ascendant”
5.The Empire of LenniaCivil Rights Lovefest“Quasi Lapis”
6.The Commonwealth of The Northeastern LandsLiberal Democratic Socialists“All shall be free, always.”
7.The Kingdom of HospeInoffensive Centrist Democracy“We stand united”
8.The Republic of KeyynDemocratic Socialists“Freedom and control put together.”
9.The Confederacy of Franche ComteNew York Times Democracy“Justice, Liberty and Unity”
10.The Constitutional Monarchy of Great SothosLiberal Democratic Socialists“Virtue can only Flourish Among Equals”
1234. . .1112»

Recent polls: “Do you intend to run for Caesar?”“Caesar Election”“A mysterious old man is sending you on an adventure, what class are you?”

Regional Happenings

More...

Oatland Regional Message Board

Franche Comte wrote:Hello all, we have most joyous news:

The Prime Minister Adrien Fournier and the First Lady, Sophie Fournier have welcomed the birth of their third and final daughter, who they have named Sybille, after the First Lady's maternal grandmother.

Most pleasant news. We shall send some of our finest agricultural produce. Congratulations.
King Jeffrey Onemu & Queen Elesha Onemu
From the office of the Royal House Onemu.

Hospe wrote:Most pleasant news. We shall send some of our finest agricultural produce. Congratulations.
King Jeffrey Onemu & Queen Elesha Onemu
From the office of the Royal House Onemu.

Thank you for your kind gift, it is very generous of you. We shall send you some of our nations finest wines as a testament to our gratitude.
-Prime Minister Adrien Fournier

Good day to all of you in Oatland. We in Japan would like to wish you happiness and peace.

The Oatland Summer Games are upon us, and Nagakawa's team wishes all other athletes competing in the Games the very best of luck. Here's to the success of the Games in bringing us closer together.

Post self-deleted by Great Sothos.

Team Logo:

Team Uniform:



Overview: Sports are very popular in Hospe. From Motorsports to Esports to your average ball and stick game, there are few things more traditionally Hospean than arenas packed full of chanting fans.
For the 2020 Oatland Summer games, Hospe's representatives are as follows:

Rifle Shooting:
1a) Richard Belling:(30)
Richard Belling says he competes for fun but his results say otherwise. Having won multiple national championships , he was the obvious choice for representing the nation. His ability to remain levelheaded even in the toughest competitions only helps his aim.
2a) Aliya Yusuf(27)
Aliya Yusuf takes rifle shooting very seriously, so seriously that on competition days she completely ignores everyone and everything but her target. Hospean sports journalists know it's pointless to interview her before events. This intense focus has led her to be ranked number 1 in the kingdom.

Decathlon
1a&b)Jordan and Kingsley Opra(23)
Kingsley and Jordan are twin brothers who have been extremely close since birth. So close that they wouldn't let me write their names seperately.
For the past four years, decathlon in Hospe have been known as the Opra Show. If it's not Jordan on the top step then it's Kingsley.
Jordan is the faster runner with greater physical flexibility while Kingsley is stronger with more endurance.

Weightlifting
Typhon Edwin(30)
Hospe isn't know for it's strongmen that's why Typhon Edwin is a national hero. His father took note of his incredible strength when the teenager was helping him chop wood fast forward 13 years and Typhon Edwin has broken the vast majority of Hospean weightlifting records.

Equestrian Sports
Josiah Eke(25)
Equestrian sports is just regaining momentum in Hospe after the HESA(Hospean Equestrian Sports Association) laid dormant for 13 years. Joe Eke is spearheading the revival of this sport.
Thunder(6)
Josiah's noble steed, at just six years old, this powerful mare is one of Hospe's most popular animals. A Hospean purebred, Thunder is beautiful yet imposing.

Swimming
A)Binta Orus(23)
Growing up the daughter of a Fisherman in the Hospean Border Islands Binta had no choice but to learn how to swim. However she had to right to become as good as she is at it. An extremely versatile swimmer, she excels at all styles but no Hospean can match her freestyle skills.
B)Gafar Hollis(30)
Gafar Hollis took up swimming as a hobby when he was a child, but when his mother noticed he was setting Olympic level times in their Olympic sized swimming pool, he took it up as a career and didn't look back. No seriously he doesn't look back at his scores of gold medals he just keeps winning more.
C)Savannah Lasisi(19)
Savannah blew up in Hospe after taking silver in national competition, at the age of 17. Just two years later, she's preparing for her Summer Games debut, she set a new backstroke record in Hospe just last year.
D)Tamuno Apia(24)
Tamuno Apia was always precocious as a child but he took it to another level when he won the Men's Freestyle Final in Myrus at the age of 21, beating competitors over a decade older than him.

Archery
A) Aurelia St.Hammond(18)
While Hospe is still struggling to establish an official archery federation. Aurelio St.Hammond has been dominating the local leagues set up around the country, she has even tested herself against the best the Hospean Border Islands have to offer and came out on top. Extremely accurate she often shoots apples of her friend's heads for some "live" practice.

Gymnastics
A)Christian Augier(28)
A master of artistic gymnastics, he dropped out of Hospean Business Prep. to practice his craft during his early teens. It certainly wasn't a waste of time , he's currently ranked number one in the kingdom.
B)Blaire White(30)
Blaire White is referred to as the goddess of Hospean Artistic Gymnastics. She even has her own national holiday. She has the skills to back up the hype, having been ranked number 1 in Hospe for almost 10 years.
C)Dominique Kingsley-Patrick(22)
Dominique is to rhythmic gymnastics, as rock music is to guitars. One makes absolutely no sense without the other. Dominique first. Dominique first captured hospean hearts when she performed a routine to a metalcore version of a popular folk song, at the age of 17. She often livestreams practice routines making her one of the Hospe's biggest athletes. She has been ranked number 1 in Hospe for two years.

Read dispatch


My team for the Summer Games. Just in case Aclion
doesn't read the telegram.

Hospe wrote:
Team Logo:

Team Uniform:



Overview: Sports are very popular in Hospe. From Motorsports to Esports to your average ball and stick game, there are few things more traditionally Hospean than arenas packed full of chanting fans.
For the 2020 Oatland Summer games, Hospe's representatives are as follows:

Rifle Shooting:
1a) Richard Belling:(30)
Richard Belling says he competes for fun but his results say otherwise. Having won multiple national championships , he was the obvious choice for representing the nation. His ability to remain levelheaded even in the toughest competitions only helps his aim.
2a) Aliya Yusuf(27)
Aliya Yusuf takes rifle shooting very seriously, so seriously that on competition days she completely ignores everyone and everything but her target. Hospean sports journalists know it's pointless to interview her before events. This intense focus has led her to be ranked number 1 in the kingdom.

Decathlon
1a&b)Jordan and Kingsley Opra(23)
Kingsley and Jordan are twin brothers who have been extremely close since birth. So close that they wouldn't let me write their names seperately.
For the past four years, decathlon in Hospe have been known as the Opra Show. If it's not Jordan on the top step then it's Kingsley.
Jordan is the faster runner with greater physical flexibility while Kingsley is stronger with more endurance.

Weightlifting
Typhon Edwin(30)
Hospe isn't know for it's strongmen that's why Typhon Edwin is a national hero. His father took note of his incredible strength when the teenager was helping him chop wood fast forward 13 years and Typhon Edwin has broken the vast majority of Hospean weightlifting records.

Equestrian Sports
Josiah Eke(25)
Equestrian sports is just regaining momentum in Hospe after the HESA(Hospean Equestrian Sports Association) laid dormant for 13 years. Joe Eke is spearheading the revival of this sport.
Thunder(6)
Josiah's noble steed, at just six years old, this powerful mare is one of Hospe's most popular animals. A Hospean purebred, Thunder is beautiful yet imposing.

Swimming
A)Binta Orus(23)
Growing up the daughter of a Fisherman in the Hospean Border Islands Binta had no choice but to learn how to swim. However she had to right to become as good as she is at it. An extremely versatile swimmer, she excels at all styles but no Hospean can match her freestyle skills.
B)Gafar Hollis(30)
Gafar Hollis took up swimming as a hobby when he was a child, but when his mother noticed he was setting Olympic level times in their Olympic sized swimming pool, he took it up as a career and didn't look back. No seriously he doesn't look back at his scores of gold medals he just keeps winning more.
C)Savannah Lasisi(19)
Savannah blew up in Hospe after taking silver in national competition, at the age of 17. Just two years later, she's preparing for her Summer Games debut, she set a new backstroke record in Hospe just last year.
D)Tamuno Apia(24)
Tamuno Apia was always precocious as a child but he took it to another level when he won the Men's Freestyle Final in Myrus at the age of 21, beating competitors over a decade older than him.

Archery
A) Aurelia St.Hammond(18)
While Hospe is still struggling to establish an official archery federation. Aurelio St.Hammond has been dominating the local leagues set up around the country, she has even tested herself against the best the Hospean Border Islands have to offer and came out on top. Extremely accurate she often shoots apples of her friend's heads for some "live" practice.

Gymnastics
A)Christian Augier(28)
A master of artistic gymnastics, he dropped out of Hospean Business Prep. to practice his craft during his early teens. It certainly wasn't a waste of time , he's currently ranked number one in the kingdom.
B)Blaire White(30)
Blaire White is referred to as the goddess of Hospean Artistic Gymnastics. She even has her own national holiday. She has the skills to back up the hype, having been ranked number 1 in Hospe for almost 10 years.
C)Dominique Kingsley-Patrick(22)
Dominique is to rhythmic gymnastics, as rock music is to guitars. One makes absolutely no sense without the other. Dominique first. Dominique first captured hospean hearts when she performed a routine to a metalcore version of a popular folk song, at the age of 17. She often livestreams practice routines making her one of the Hospe's biggest athletes. She has been ranked number 1 in Hospe for two years.

Read dispatch


My team for the Summer Games. Just in case Aclion
doesn't read the telegram.

How did you do the logo? I would like to know for the future games.

The Democratic Republic of The Antarctic wrote:How did you do the logo? I would like to know for the future games.

I used an app called Canva. I'm actually teaching a free Canva basics class on WhatsApp. I can send you the link if you're interested.

Hospe wrote:I used an app called Canva. I'm actually teaching a free Canva basics class on WhatsApp. I can send you the link if you're interested.

Okay thanks for the tip. I'm not going to compete in the games this year, but next time I'll use this to do the things I need to do.

Fishy Apples is once more participating in the Oatland Summer Games as well, and... maybe this year we could actually win at swimming. 😋

Fishy Apples' 2020 Oatland Summer Games Submission Form

Fishy Apples is returning once more to the Oatland Summer Games, and which let's just say from the results of last year's Summer Games has made folks feel as though we're a bit... cursed. A year later, and folks are STILL talking about and asking how we failed to even medal in swimming, so upon Queen Jackie's suggestion, we hired an outside coach to overlook our team for this year and give their impressions.

Before we share our more detailed information, this is the quick primer we worked up for our guest coach of who is participating where and in what, as well what they are, and for the Oatland Games Committee we also included, as usual, our national anthem, and our uniforms!!

Our Representatives:
Diving - Faruk Nor (♂)
Rifle Shooting - Holly Blossomforth (♀)(Ψ), Dusty Tatin (♀)
Decathlon - Red Halivista (♂)
Gymnastics - Russel Cox (♂), Ayame Yoshikage (♀)(Ϡ)
Weightlifting - N/A
Equestrian Sports - Cheryl Religieuse (♀), Mandy Baldwin (♀)
Swimming - Lily Normande (♀)(Ψ), Daisy Ashmead (♀)(Ψ), Momoka Nishitara (♀)(Ϡ), Nadia Karang (♀)
Archery - Natsume Chiyo (♀)(Ϡ), Ro Tassarion (♂)(Ԑ)
Fencing - Cameo Antonovka (♂)
Sailing - Alstroemeria Edmund (♀)(Ψ), Bob Urliss (♂), Ruri Izaya (♀)(Ϡ)

Inspired by our neighbors, we have decided to label our athletes to better clarify who they are.
Symbol Legend:
(♂) = Male
(♀) = Female
(Ψ) = Mermaid
(Ϡ) = Nekomimi
(Ԑ) = Elf

Our National Anthem:
Link"Inazuma Double Kick"

Below are our uniforms:

This is the upper portion of the uniform for all our athletes across all sports for both sexes:

This is the lower half of the uniform for most of our athletes across all sports for both sexes:

This is the lower half of the uniform for our mermaid representatives (as obviously wearing shorts is physically impossible for them):

And here is our flag:



This below is file footage of our foreign-hired coach meeting our team and preparing this year's roster...

Coach: "So... let me get this straight. You guys had a poor go at it last year, winning only one medal (Cheryl Religieuse beams widely, flashing her bronze medal for equestrian sports), and even got creamed at two events you should on paper completely dominated."
Queen Jackie: "Well, I threw mah back out for that interview an' then there's those old injuries, an' stuff..."
Lily Normande: "Honestly, I'm not sure if it's a secret doping program, speciesism, some combination of both, or something else I'm missing, but how did a bunch of humans beat us? Last year three out of five members of our team were mermaids. We're PART FISH. How did that work?!"
Coach: "Well, to quote your nation's application from last year,
'Our coaches got together and decided to focus our recruiting on swimming, choosing to bring an amazing five athletes with us, because we determined that if a nation where nearly three out of five of our citizens were beings commonly associated with the water couldn't win a medal in an event doing one of the very things we're best known for, then we're CLEARLY doing it wrong, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.' Well, that must mean you're clearly doing something wrong, and should be ashamed of yourselves."
*awkward silence*
Daisy Ashmead: "...Damn, she got us there."
Coach: "Now that got that out in the open, and we know it was primarily your fault, let's see what we got to work with..."

*3 hours of adjusting and cursing vehently later*
Coach: "Well... hate to say it, but it seems we pretty much have the same team from last year. Seeing as there are the same number of player slots but now ten events, this is what we're going to do. First, at least for this year, we're straight up cutting weightlifting."
Queen Jackie: "What in tarnation?!"
Coach: "Well, this is largely a PR move more than anything, giving you a chance to save face from the disaster that was 2019. Speaking of 2019, you're still a world leader, you know, and there is that whole global pandemic going on, so I don't think it'd make great optics for a world leader to go off participating in a pan-regional sporting event during these times."

*another round of silence*
Red Halivista: "She's just kicking ALL our butts today."
Queen Jackie: "Alright. Guessin' ah'm out then. What else?"
Coach: "I want Holly Blossomforth to focus on one event, and seeing as she is one of best riflemasters in Fishy Apples, it would be best for her to focus solely on her proficiency in Rifle Shooting, and to withdraw from Archery. Finally, the last cut is one not made by my hand, but the military, as Dahlia Stayman, according to my notes, is under deployment by the Fishy Apples Royal Navy and thus cannot attend the games this year. As a result, this opens up three slots for us fill for the new event, Sailing, so let's welcome our newcomers Alstroemeria Edmund, Bob Urliss, and Ruri Izaya."

*several minutes of introductions later*
Coach: "Now then, let's get to know the team..."



Diving

Following last year's games, Faruk Nor has been working on his diving with a series of cliff diving challenges all across Fishy Apples, and to add extra challenge, streaming each attempt and allowing the viewers to choose what kind of technique to perform. This always kept him on his toes as he never knew what diving technique he had to perform next, forcing him ensure he was well-rounded.



Rifle Shooting

Upon our hired coach's recommendations, along with regular winter biathlete Dusty Tatin, Holly Blossomforth narrowed her focus this year on her rifle traning, and this year had the idea of using her military contacts to arrange a group training exercise with all the participating athletes in the Rifle Shooting event in The Bunny Fire training together at an event in The Onigiri Enclave, headed by none other SID second-in-command Brigadier General Mirin Haberdash, possibly the best markswoman is all The Bunny Fire, and owner of one of the only two models of the Mysterium Arms MA-666 "God Killer" 66.6mm x 420mm Depleted Uranium 4ng Anti-Matter Core Round Magnetic Rail-Accelerated Sniper Rifle. The training camp was a rosuing success for all nations involved, and Holly even got to fire the God Killer, levelling a whole mountain in a single shot. Needless to say most everyone there was impressed. General Haberdash said she her aim was slightly off, as she didn't quite hit the target on the side of the mountain, and fellow Onigiri Enclave SID officer who happened to be Colonel Weyl Nantessa said she's seen bigger."



Decathlon

To further prepare for these games, sports medicine physician Red Halivista began a program of using his weekends to enthusiastically run around the sweltering deserts around Risottosh in order to build up his endurance. At first, it was a bit of a slog, but now he has gotten to where he can get decent times with ten pound weights strapped to his arms and legs.



Gymnastics

Russel Cox resumed his career as apizza delivery boy after the 2019 games, but kept working on his parkour skills in hopes he could polish them into something he could use this year, and good news, this year, he didn't lose a single pizza. Improvement!!
Meanwhile our other gymnast, Ayame Yoshikage, other the 2019 games opened her own cheerleading camp for girls for all species ages 10 to 14 outside of Setsuna City near Lake Redlove. The cheerleading practice she has done in that time, as well as operating the camp, has kept her limber and ready for these games coming up.



Weightlifting

The coach decided to bench our queen, and no one else wanted to apply, so we have no team for weightlifting this year.



Equestrian Sports

Back again is our only medal winner, Cheryl Religieuse, riding on such notoriety to help build more popularity for equestrian sports in and around Coral Canyon City, but otherwise has simply continued to do what she loves, raising and riding horses.
Meanwhile, fellow teammate Mandy Baldwin has developed a bit of a rivalry with Cheryl, feeling slighted that someone of a lower tax bracket got a medal and not her last year, and is now wanting to prove she's as good, if not better by training herself and her prized mare vigorously daily for these games.



Swimming - National Specialty

Swimming... oof. The results of last year hit Fishy Apples hard. Some like Momoka Nishitara thought they could have done more, while others like Lily Normande actually believed it was an outright hidden agenda of speciesism behind the scenes of the games, considering, with the exception of that cardboard cutout Windiria sent, only humans were winning medals, and that cutout was awfully human-shaped if you asked her. However, at the end of the day, the only clear thing was that we lost, and that we had to get better at what is SUPPOSED to be our specialty. As such, Lily began to hit the gym regularly after work, as well as swim to work with weights strapped to her body. Daisy Ashmead would regularly swim the irrigation pipes while timing herself. Momoka Nishitara decided to work on building her endurance and lung capacity, so she began laps twenty feet underwater with a twenty pound weight strapped to her tail. Finally, Nadia Karang, the sole human on the team, used deep-sea diving exercises to help get her into better shape in preparation for the upcoming games.



Archery

With Holly Blossomforth bowing out of the Archery event, it means Natsume Chiyo and Ro Tassarion need to step up even more if they hope to bring in medals for Fishy Apples. Natsume is considered a clear competetor this year, mainly thanks to the extreme rigors of her Magus Sister training, which includes an intense archery regimen. Ro also has maintained his fletching prowess is his work as a sheriff's deputy in Lobster Eye.



Fencing

We don't know much as to what Cameo Antonovka has been doing save his regular routine, as he seemed rather salty after the 2019 games, keeping to himself, and we thought we wouldn't see himback again, but he surprised us by returning to our ranks again. What secret techniques has he been working on no one knows...


Sailing

Finally, we have our newcomers in the Sailing division. Alstroemeria Edmund is an Earth mermaid from The Sweet Apple Ocean who runs a sail-operated cargo ferry back and forth from The Sweet Apple Ocean to the island city of Lorelai, stopping halfway in between in the middle of the ocean to deliver and pickup supplies from the underwater city of Niwatori City. When asked why she chooses to use sail power over say diesel, solar, steam, or something thaumatic, Alstroemeria said it was part to reduce her carbon footprint and part to reduce overhead, as she wasn't as big as other shipping companies yet, and it was a way to keep up with them.
When asked about his sailing experience, accountant and Jazz native Bob Urliss told us he first learned to rig a sail from his granddad, but really began to master it when he got into participating in historical naval battle reenactments, where he regularly portrayed a Bosun's Mate on a recreation of the HMS Applesauce, one of Fishy Apples' largest and most famous naval ships of the late 17th-early 18th centuries.
Ruri Izaya is a wealthy nekomimi socialite from Setsuna City and president of her local yacht club. As such, her sailing credentials have been vouched for by winning the All-Bunny Fire Ice Regata two years in a row, where sailors have to sail their dinghies from Northern Spy, across the cool northern seas of The Bunny Fire, where the occasional iceburg may prove to be a harrowing obstacle, out to and around the island where the Windirian city of Zepyhrion resides, and back to the finish line at Silk Sardonyx in the northern part of The Onigiri Enclave.


With that, that concludes our 2020 entry to the Oatland Summer Games!!

Read dispatch

Here are some interviews with a few of our athletes who will be participating in the Games.

静 川 新 聞
T H E  S E I Z E N  S H I M B U N
Since 1889

Yūsei Katō
Culture and sports
correspondent

The Empire of Nagakawa’s inaugural entry into the Oatland Summer Games comes as national interest in competitive sport reaches an all-time high, with a total of 15 athletes entering the Oatland Summer Games and competing in six different events. Our participation in the Oatland Summer Games comes in the wake of several high profile competitions, like the National Field Championship (NFC) and the Inter-Prefecture Kyūdō Cup (IPKC).

In the lead-up to the games, which officially begin on the 5th of July, I interviewed four of our fifteen athletes in order to gain insight into the world of competitive sports as well as the daily life of a professional athlete.

...


MIHO TSUGATA
津形 みほ

Age: 23 (born 11 January 1997)
Home: Konogura, Kaga Prefecture (華々県)
Sport: Gymnastics

“Representing my hometown on the world stage has always been a dream of mine, but I never thought I'd actually get to do it one day.”

Miho Tsugata
Gymnast

For a gymnast, whom one might expect to be flashy and expressive, Miho Tsugata cuts a surprisingly unassuming figure. The 23-year-old native of northern Nagakawa stands at roughly 160cm tall and, between her modest choice of fashion and her speaking in a shy yet articulate manner, comes across as an ordinary college student, for whom one might easily mistake her were it not for the large assortment of medals and trophies that line her wall, and more fascinatingly, her rack of Chinese swords and pole arms in the balcony of her apartment in uptown Inada.

"I actually did wushu (a performance sport based on Chinese martial arts) before becoming a gymnast", Tsugata explained to me over tea in her tastefully designed kitchen. "I only started doing gymnastics when I was 11, and I did both sports until I turned 18. That was about the time when I decided to give up wushu so I could try competing at a higher level in gymnastics."

The collection of awards in her living room is a testament to Tsugata's flair for the sport, which she described as her "angel wings". In the National Gymnastics Federation's 2020 Cup, held earlier this year, Tsugata competed in five events, taking home gold medals for the uneven bars and the balancing beam and silvers for the remaining three, thus cementing herself as the overall champion of the 2020 Cup, as well as one of the foremost upcoming female gymnasts in Nagakawa. With the retirement of former National Champion Kiria Inagaki, Tsugata appears set to establish herself as the next big name in Nagakawan gymnastics.

This success does not come easy, as any athlete would be more than ready to say. Tsugata's daily regime sees her waking up at 5am, meeting her coach and beginning training at 7am after a quick breakfast. In the months leading up to her competitions, she eschews any form of entertainment and recreation whatsoever, training for twelve hours a day six out of seven days a week and spending the remaining waking hours of day eating, bathing, or sleeping, with the remaining one day spent on recovery and cardio training.

"It would be disrespectful to all those who have supported me every step of the way to give anything less than my one hundred percent effort", she explains with a glimmer in her eye. "That's one big reason why I have the drive to wake up so early and haul myself to the studio, even on the off day when I don't feel like it."

Her other motivating factor, however, is a lot simpler than one might expect.

"My birthplace Konogura is a small blip on the map, with a population of barely 6,000 people, many of whom are leaving for the big cities and never coming back", she mused to me, with a look of intense homesickness in her eye. "[The renowned haiku poet] Yukio Yamamoto was from Konogura, but other than those who study his poetry, hardly anyone has heard of Konogura. Perhaps if I win something, people might take an interest in my hometown."

As for her plans for the future, Tsugata was more noncommittal. In 2019, she turned down a sportsman's scholarship offered by the Ministry of Culture, citing her unwillingness to pledge an additional five years of her life to professional gymnastics.

"I'll probably retire when I turn thirty. I want to go back to living in Konogura. City living just isn't my thing."

...


YŪYA KUSANAGI
草彅 優也

Age: 21 (born 11 November 1999)
Home: Yokobuchi-shi, Yokobuchi Prefecture (横潭県)
Sport: Equestrian (Dressage)

Yūya Kusanagi
Dressage rider

Yūya Kusanagi turns 21 in November, and to celebrate his "coming of age", he plans to crack open a bottle of Moscato his parents saved for the occasion since he was 3. Till that day, however, Kusanagi has sworn off any and all sweet and sugary drinks in favour of plain water, an oath he has kept to for the past three years, when he first began participating in competitive equestrianism.

"My horses don't drink any of that s***. Neither should I, at least not now", said Kusanagi with a highly infectious laugh.

Born in Yokobuchi Prefecture's capital, Yokobuchi City, Kusanagi is something of a local celebrity there, and though he was reluctant to say much about his childhood, he was more than happy to talk about his horse, Koba.

Standing at just 15.3 hands tall, Koba is a pure black 11-year-old Sverigen Warmblood who, like Kusanagi, was also born in Yokobuchi Prefecture, in the city of Yagami. Kusanagi first met Koba in 2014, training with him ever since then.

"I'd share a picture of him with you, but I don't know if they [Koba's team] would allow it."

When asked to talk about his most challenging experience, Kusanagi, surprisingly, explained that it was not the training or the regimentation one might expect in the life of a pro-athlete, but rather, his parents' objections. Both of Kusanagi's parents are judges, and as Kusanagi shared, they disapproved of him choosing to be a rider, insisting instead that he study law.

"I told them one day that I had no interest in studying law, but they wouldn't have any of it. I had to get my grandmother, who's also a horse lover, to talk to the both of them before they finally agreed to let me take a few years off to compete before then going to university." Kusanagi hopes however that by competing in the Oatland Summer Games, his first international competition, he can convince his parents to let him continue on as a rider even after university.

"There's no shortage of lawyers, but as far as Koba is concerned, there's only one Yūya. I'm his first rider, and I think he would be very sad to see me go."

...


HIROMI SAKAGUCHI
坂口 比呂美

Age: 26 (born 26 March 1994)
Home: Azusamachi, Shikiyoru Prefecture (四季夜県)
Sport: Sailing

Hiromi Sakaguchi
Sailor

When Hiromi Sakaguchi lost her father to the sea at the age of 4, she was still too young to process what exactly had happened.

Now, however, the 26-year-old, sitting across the table with a gigantic fruit smoothie in hand, believes that her becoming a competitive sailor is, oddly enough, her method of coming to grips with her past and with her father's death.

"My father loved the sea. He would spend night after night writing poetry about it and gazing out into the expanse", she explained between sips of her violently-coloured smoothie. "And though it was the sea that took his life, I hold no grudges whatsoever. The sea is alive. It is a sentient being. It is capricious. And if anyone understood that, more than anyone else, it was my father."

Sakaguchi picked up sailing at the age of 13, after being approached by her middle school sailing team's captain, Yūri Yumizuru, himself also now an accomplished sailor (though he declined to participate in the upcoming Oatland Games due to a shoulder injury). Her hometown Azusamachi is a scenic little fishing village wedged between the Northern Ocean to the north, the lush greenery of the Furugamori forest to the south and the west, and the Himeyama mountain range to the east, and though it is connected to the rest of Nagakawa only by a single train line and a single highway, it is fast becoming a highly popular tourist destination thanks to its unspoiled scenery and, increasingly, the growing presence of a professional sailing sector.

"I would say that growing up in such a beautiful, unspoiled place has given me the clarity of mind that I need to focus on my goals", Sakaguchi says. "When I feel dejected or stressed, I look out into the distance, and I am reminded that whether I win or not, the world goes on. Sometimes, when I lose focus and fall off my yacht, the water catches me and wakes me up. It reminds me, I need to live to try another day."

In her blog, WaterFernweh, which Sakaguchi runs independently of her sailing club, she details her struggle with depression and panic attacks. When she was 17, she suffered from a particularly bad episode of paranoia, and as a result, lost 7kg and was put on Ativan for a month. Still, even in her lowest points, she continued going out sailing.

"I will say without any hesitation that it was sailing that saved my life", she says, with a twinkle in her eye. "I owe my life to the sea."

Though she considers herself to be slightly on the older end compared to most other athletes, Sakaguchi has no intention of quitting sailing anytime soon.

"As far as I'm concerned, I've still got most of my life ahead of me."

...


TOSHIYUKI MURAKAMI
村神 歳幸

Age: 25 (born 19 June 1995)
Home: Hakujira, Heigo Prefecture (平呉県)
Sport: Archery

Toshiyuki Murakami
Archer, kyūdōka

Kyūdō is Nagakawa's national sport. For Toshiyuki Murakami, having the opportunity to train under both the kyūdō masters of Nagakawa as well as acclaimed teachers of international recurve archery is the greatest honour of his life.

"I'm not a particularly good student, so having the chance to excel in a discipline that few people even consider choosing as a career is, for me, the one thing I am most grateful for", said Murakami, 25, over coffee. He has a rather eccentric manner to him, speaking with a slight lisp and jittery from the large amounts of caffeine he says he drinks- skirting the urine test limit for caffeine, he jokes, is the other sport he truly enjoys.

Interestingly, none of this jitteriness is present when Mr Murakami draws his bowstring. Archival footage of past competitions shows Murakami calmly setting his eyes on his target, his elegant fingers pinching the string just the right amount as he calibrates the trajectory of his arrow.

"There's a technique to it", Murakami claims. "You have to consciously direct the caffeine out of your muscles and to your mind, where it helps you to concentrate. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, but it works for me."

Prior to his entering the Oatland Summer Games, Murakami competed in several high-profile national competitions, the latest of which was the Kyūdō Nationals in November 2019. It was there, says Murakami, where he met his now boyfriend, fellow kyūdōka Hiroki Yamagata.

The pair are currently engaged, though Murakami declined to reveal more details.

"It was Hiroki's dream to compete internationally, but because of carpal tunnel syndrome, he's had to retire early. In a way, I'm living out his dream for him."

Murakami will be competing in the Oatland Summer Games' archery event alongside two national scions- Masanobu Ninagawa, son of former Prime Minister Takumi Ninagawa, and Crown Prince Ayahito of Kamishiro, the son of the Emperor. (Neither Ninagawa nor HIH Prince Kamishiro wished to be interviewed). As the only "commoner" among the trio, Murakami believes it highly likely that the public will view him in a certain manner, but chooses not to care."

"My friends and family support me all the way, and that's all I need", he says with an endearingly toothy grin.

...

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