SOUTH ESSEX has a special visitor from Japan at the moment – and everyone at the club thinks he’s a bit Super!
Takehito Mori, 31, who is from the city of Soka, arrived in the UK in July 2015 to begin a two-year placement at South Essex Gymnastics Club as part of his training to become a qualified coach.
Takehito and his wife Sayaka are living in Basildon – close to SEGC star Max Whitlock and his partner Leah Hickton – and the former Japanese gymnast works closely with club coaches Scott Hann and Anthony Wise to develop his skill set.
And Takehito, who won a team bronze medal with Japan at the 2006 World Championships, is considered a very popular member of the team at the Basildon Sporting Village – and a good sport too.
He was happy to don a Superman costume at the 2015 Gymnanza show in December in a display featuring some of SEGC’s international stars.
Takehito is a contemporary of Japan’s reigning Olympic champion Kohei Uchimura, and when asked on a microphone why he was visit the UK, he joked to the audience: “Because I am a Japanese spy!”
Takehito’s English has improved a lot since his arrival in the summer – despite his funny post on Facebook on New Year’s Day, in which he is pictured with SEGC’s director of coaching Scott Hann (below).
SEGC’s assistant director of coaching Matt Jackson, who went to pick up Takehito from Heathrow airport last summer, said: “He is a really nice guy and is now very fondly thought of here.
“He has been sent by the Japanese to build his coaching skills, but we learn a lot from him too.
“Japan are still the world leaders in gymnastics so for them to send one of their own here to train is quite an honour for us. And we are more than happy to help Takehito on his journey.”