Japan’s Olympic fencer turns to food delivery to keep hopes alive for the games
TOKYO: With the Olympics postponed and athletes struggle to make ends meet financially due to the coronavirus, top Japanese fencer Ryo Miyake has exchanged his metal mask and foil for a bike and backpack to work as Tokyo's UberEats deliveryman.
The 29-year-old, who won silver in the team foil at the 2012 London Olympics and was itching to compete in a home Games, says the job keeps him in shape physically and mentally — and brings in much-needed cash.
"I started this for two reasons — to save money for travelling (to future competitions) and to keep myself in physical shape," he told AFP.
"I see how much I am earning on the phone, but the number is not just money for me. It's a score to keep me going."
Japanese media have depicted Miyake as a poor amateur struggling to make ends meet but he himself asked for his three corporate sponsorships to be put on hold — even if that means living off savings.
Like most of the world's top athletes, he is in limbo as the virus forces competitions to be cancelled and plays havoc with training schedules.
"I don't know when I can resume training or when the next tournament will take place. I don't even know if I can keep up my mental condition or motivation for another year," he said. - AFP