Boxer Sewon Okazawa, who will compete in the welterweight division at the Tokyo Olympics, said Tuesday he plans to help repair the damage done to his gym by flooding that has ravaged the nation's southwest over the past week.
"I want to go to the Olympics from this gym," Okazawa said in a phone interview. "I want to give something back by helping return the gym to its usual condition."
All four running machines at Okazawa's gym in the city of Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, were damaged by the flooding, which was caused by torrential rain, and memorabilia like gloves and banners were covered with mud.
The 24-year-old said he was setting up a crowdfunding campaign to cover the repair costs.
"I never thought this would happen. I underestimated the threat of a disaster," he said.
Okazawa has made considerable strides under the guidance of the gym's head, Shunya Aratake, who took the boxer under his wing after he graduated from Chuo University in Tokyo. The Yamagata Prefecture native is expected to win a medal at the delayed Olympics in Japan next summer.
For now, though, Okazawa said he will stop practicing and focus on the restoration, as many local residents who support him were also affected by the disaster.
"I want to prove that you can accomplish anything if you keep looking forward and give it your all," he said. "I want to show them."
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