JAPAN — Last week, Japanese media reported that the famous 15-year-old junior high school sprinter Sherry Drury broke another record when contesting in the Okayama Ekiden race on 29 January.
However, Sherry Drury chose to withdraw from National Junior High School Cross-country Tournament held yesterday (5 February) in Shiga Prefecture, as she felt mentally fatigued due to overheated media coverage and public attention.
Japanese athletics media Getsuriku Online reported that Ms Drury’s representative lawyer relayed her message: “After the Okayama Ekiden race the other day (29 January), I felt very uneasy about dealing with the media and people around me taking pictures and talking to me.”
Ms Drury applied to contest in the tournament as a challenge for herself as she had never contested in cross-country before.
However, she apologised to her supporters for her sudden withdrawal from the tournament.
Her statement said her life was changed since the Ekiden race on 15 January, and she was not able to practice freely like before. Images and videos of Ms Drury were published on the Internet without her permission.
Some magazine reporters interviewed her neighbours or people related to her and even checked her classmate’s addresses before conducting the interview.
She urges the media to cease excessive interviews as she does not wish to cause inconvenience to people around her.
Ms Drury said she will continue to practice on track and field even after she joined high school.
“So at that moment, I would be happy if you could quietly support me in the shadows,” she told her supporters.
Last month, Ms Drury drew media attention with her record-breaking sprint of three kilometres in 9 minutes and 2 seconds at the All-Japan Inter-Prefectural Women’s “Ekiden” Championships held in Kyoto.
Her astonishing performance has attracted attention from media from Japan and oversea. However, she has expressed her wish for less attention on her while she could focus on training.
There are crowds of people attended the previous Okayama Ekiden race just to catch a glimpse of Ms Drury:
— NHK岡山 (@nhk_okayama) January 29, 2023