Japanese athletes who had been on training schedules designed to put them at the top of their game in July are now mulling whether to continue their quests for Olympic medals, or pack it all in and get on with their lives. That is the conundrum many have been in since March 24, when the Tokyo Olympic was postponed.
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Terada set a Japan 100m footraces record of 12.97 seconds at an encounter near Mount Fuji. She also contended at the IAAF World Athletics Championships for the first time in 10 years, though she failed to advance out of the first heat.
Before the Olympics were postponed, she was able to leave her child in a nursery school until 8 p.m. That gave her plenty of time to train. It was a substantial preparation, nonetheless one that will probably not be available when her daughter enters basic school next year
To qualify for the Tokyo Olympic, Terada must get her 100m hurdles time down to 12.84 seconds. The Japan National Championships this coming fall is unlikely to be a qualifying event, but Terada is after as much experience as she can get.
“I didn’t contest in many competitions last year, she supposed. And I want to be better ready for next year by structure up more knowledge so that I can efficiently demonstrate the fruit of my training.”
Besides having to self-finance and find their sponsors, many Japanese athletes are also on their own when it comes to working practice sessions and competitions into their schedules. And now Saito worries about how the one-year delay will impact his arrangements going forward.
There is also the matter of motivation. The postponement sapped it from Osaki, 30, who believes motivation to be an athlete’s most critical attribute. It is the second time in less than two years for Osaki to ponder a post-basketball life. At the end of 2018, she gave birth and figured motherhood would keep her off the hardwood. Osaki did not join any club in the Women’s Japan Basketball League but did lay out a plan that might provide a path to the Olympic 2020 team daycare for her baby and a place to train for herself.
“I also feel it’s no good for women’s basketball in Japan if it can find a place on the national team a year from now. I know what this long extra year would mean to me and how difficult it’s going to be, she said. “So it’s hard for me to say to myself, ‘I’ll give it my all.'”
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