Japan holds a new lifesaving competition that originated in Australia
Lifesaving is a unique social activity and sport that was originally founded in Australia, arguably the Mecca of lifesaving. The Lifesaving Patrol Competition is a unique sports event boasting over 30 vibrant years of history in Australia. This competition was held in Minamiboso, Chiba from 26-27 October 2019.
The event was planned and implemented by voluntary members with the support of Surf Life Saving Australia and its Japanese counterpart, the Japan Lifesaving Association. A team comprising of Australia’s national champions, as well as a highly experienced National Championship judge travelled to Japan to participate in the competition. Lifesaving clubs from all over Japan who aim to improve their techniques competed while deepening international exchange.
Local communities, despite being affected by this year’s typhoons and torrential rainfall, supported the competition which was blessed with exemplary weather – worthy of commemorating the inaugural event. Five teams from Japan participated in events showcasing not only surf techniques used to quickly rescue drowning swimmers, but also an academic examination for testing base knowledge, a team-based event testing proper resuscitation techniques and a timed life-saving simulation event that re-enacts an actual beach incident. Teams were not provided with any prior information for the simulation event.
Ms Kato participated in the competition representing the Hayama Lifesaving Club. She commented that, “Until now Japan has not had a rule-based rescue competition; I had fun participating. The event resembles a karate ‘kata’ competition, given that lifesaving decisions and operations are judged on a basis of rules. I believe that repeated practice will definitely translate into lifesaving applications in the field.”
Mr John Braddick, who had served as the head judge in Australia’s National Competition concluded, “Japan was able to set up its first event within only three years; an operation that took us 30 years to set up in Australia. This feat is indicative of Japan’s deeply rooted life-saving culture. Our goal in life-saving is to transcend borders. We learn from one another to prevent accidents, improving ourselves and our friends in the meantime. I felt this same sentiment in Japan, too. From here I would like to see [everyone] come to Australia and compete.” The competition will lead to real gains in beach safety and contribute to the development of Japan-Australia exchanges.