According to Kyodo News Naoya Tsukahara, the son of five time gold Olympic medalist Mitsou Tsukahara, is to apply for Australian citizenship as a prerequisite to taking part in next year’s London 2012 Olympics.
Tsukuhara, 34, has been training in Australia since 2009, following the Japanese team’s capturing of gold for the first time in 28 years at the Athens Games in 2004.
Currently, Tsukuhara has not satisfied all of the requirements to claim Australian citizenship, but taking permanent residency should clear the way for him to do so.
“If I can represent the Australian national team, I’d like to become someone who can be a bridge between both Japan and Australia through gymnastics,” Tsukuhara said.
Tsukahara has competed in three Olympic Games. The 34 year old was a member of the Japanese team who showed strong performances in Athens 2004 and won the gold team medal, the first Japan had won in twenty eight years. One of his last international competitions was in 2006 when he won a bronze team medal at the 2006 World Championships.
At the Australian Nationals in Perth last weekend Tsukahara swept the board, beating second place Luke Wiwatowski by over 7 marks. However, Tsukahara was a guest at the competition so first place was awarded to Wiwatowski, with Samuel Offord in second place and Jayden Bull in third place. Read more from International Gymnast.
There has been no comment yet from the Japanese Gymnastics Federation nor Gymnastics Australia so this is just speculation.