"Shitamachi" Bobsleigh Project Pins Hopes on Beijing Games

Society

Tokyo, Jan. 7 (Jiji Press)--With less than a month to go until the Beijing Olympics, a group of craftsmen mainly in a Tokyo "shitamachi" blue-collar district is trying for the third time to get their sleds used in Olympic bobsleigh competitions.

As their sleds were not used by any national team in the past two Winter Olympic Games, members once considered dissolving their group.

After their bitter experience, they are now pinning hopes on the Beijing Games, set to open on Feb. 4, as the Italian team may adopt their sleds.

Tomoyuki Goto, 37, was seen working on a sled quietly alone at a welding factory in Tokyo's Ota Ward, a shitamachi area, last month.

"The key is how to weld parts without creating strain. I take care so that the sleds can log good times but will not break due to vibrations," said Goto, in charge of the welding process in the project.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press