A group led by OKADA Hironobu, a 2006 graduate of APU, organized a tug-of-war tournament called the Green Challenge as part of this year's Tenku Festival. Under the motto "our hearts are one", the event gathered members from the 10-year old APU Alumni Association, current faculty, staff and students from APU (which was recently awarded Top Global University Project funding from MEXT), RU Alumni Association members from Oita Prefecture and local citizens.
Among various activities, the “tug of war” was the most significant event that displayed the exquisite aspect of internationalism, which characterizes APU. This event caught the attention of a substantial number of visitors. The “tug of war” was a challenge involved 52 people from 52 different countries coming from the four corners of the world.
Participants hailing from 52 countries and regions joined the tournament and pulled on the ropes with all their strength.
The 52 people were allocated into 6 different teams namely from A to F. The competition was divided into 4 rounds. The game consisted that every two teams playing against each other and one should pull the rope 4 meters to its own side in order to win. After 2 hours of team organization, the game started around 12pm as team A vs.B, C vs.D, and E vs. F. After 30 minutes of hard efforts from every team, the final included team A and team F, which ended up by team A winning the whole games. This “tug of war” has set the Guinness world record in terms of number of countries participants are from.
One of the organizing members, MAEHARA Hironobu, commented on the difficulties faced in preparing for the event: "Since we alumni have jobs, we only had a limited amount of time to prepare, and it wasn't easy to coordinate with the students."
ABE, another organizer, added, "We were attempting a Guinness Book record [for the most nationalities in a tug-of-war match], so we had to confirm the rules in the week leading up to the event. It was tough getting people to show up."
OKADA, who spearheaded the tournament, was all smiles. "We made something out of nothing. This was an unprecedented event that reflects the true spirit of APU. There is a real sense of achievement, and I'm glad it went off without a hitch."
Finally, every team took a picture and First President Sakamoto with President Korenaga gave a short speech, praising the idea of the tug of war event, and congratulating every one, for APU’s selection among top 30 universities in Japan. This way we ended up screaming “we have a dream” while taking a group picture.