Derek Nakamoto wants to become the first
American Ninja Warrior. The Walnut resident is well on his way after
posting impressive times in the finals of the popular television series
of the same name.
In fact, the 21-year-old Cal Poly student posted the shortest time as
he worked his way through the challenging course televised on July 9 by
“It’s become a dream of mine to win this competition,” Nakamoto explained during a recent interview.
The industrial engineering student made the gruelling course look
easy. The 5-foot-10-inch athlete focused on the obstacles and pushed
The 2008 Walnut High grad has always risen to physical and mental
challenges. He wrestled varsity for the Walnut Mustangs. Nakamoto was
also on the water polo and swimming teams.
He later took up parkour when he learned Cal Poly Pomona didn’t offer
his favorite sports. Developed in France, parkour teaches athletes to
get around obstacles by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and
“I do a lot of free running and parkour, but I’ve always wanted to
compete in the Ninja Warrior competition,” Nakamoto said. “This was the
first year I was eligible for the competition.”
Read more in NINJA.