Japanese nurse Arisa Tsubata has trained around her work shifts for over a year to prepare for a final Olympic boxing qualifier in the hope of making it to the Tokyo Games this summer.
That dream was shattered after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) cancelled the boxing qualifier due to take place in June and said it would allocate spots to athletes based on their world rankings in recent years.
Left: A photograph shows Tsubata and her friend Naomi Mizumura, also a nurse, taken when they worked at the same hospital. Right: Tsubata and Mizumura chat at a park.
Tsubata got into boxing about three years ago to lose weight, but her training coaches quickly encouraged her to compete in the sport and she went on to win Japan's national boxing championship for the middleweight division in 2019.
As a nurse and a boxer, she has mixed feelings about whether the Olympics due to start in July should go ahead as cases rise.
"As an athlete, considering fellow athletes waiting for this moment, and especially seeing my chance being taken away, I think the Olympics should happen," she said.
She says it is too early to think about the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 and worries she may be too old by then to keep up with the physical strength needed to compete.
"I can't say I am aiming for the next Olympics in Paris, but what I can do is try to keep working hard step by step, at any competitions ahead, small or big," Tsubata said.
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; TEXT EDITING ANA NICOLACI; LAYOUT JULIA DALRYMPLE