A Brazil's volleyball player wears face mask even during the matches
A volleyball player in men's Brazil national team for the Tokyo Olympics plays with the face mask on during the matches. A middle blocker, Lucas Saatkamp (35), is controlling the infection of the novel coronavirus for his family in his home country. Although he lost in the semi-final on August 5, he will challenge the 3rd place playoff with a bronze medal on the 7th.
The 209 cm tall and the black face mask gives the opponent a feeling of intimidation. On the 5th, in the semi-final with the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), he made a series of haste and blocks, which he is good at. Even after scoring, he prepares for the next play without joining the circle of joy, saying, "If you express your feelings too much, your play will be disturbed."
At the Tokyo 2020 Games in Corona Pandemic, athletes are required to wear masks, but they can be removed during matches and practice. "I wear it during the match to protect my family. My wife gave a birth to her daughter only two months ago. The eldest son, five years old, has a weak lung." When asked by the interviewers, "Isn't it painful?", he dismissed it as "this lifestyle has been around since the pandemic. No problem."
It is cramped for everyone to keep covering their mouth and nose. Depending on the country and the competition, the appearance of athletes and related persons who speak with their masks removed has become normal. Saatkamp himself was infected with Covid-19 in January and learned of the fear. He accepts a cramped life just in case, although was vaccinated before the Olympics.
The strength of his heart is also reflected in the game. He played an active part in the match against ROC with 13 goals in 2nd place in the team. The dream of winning consecutive titles following the previous tournament held in his home country has disappeared, but "It is our duty to win medals at the Olympics. I want to do my best." His healthy body and a shining medal can be brought back to the Brazilian family.
This article is composed using Google Translate customized exclusively for The Chunichi Shimbun. The translation may have limited accuracy.