Japan winger Fukuoka skipping Olympics to begin medical studies

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Winger Kenki Fukuoka, who helped Japan reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals last year, has said he will not be available for the rugby sevens tournament at the Tokyo Olympics as he will be studying for medical school.

The 27-year-old had planned to play at the 2020 Olympics before starting his medical career but with the Games postponed until next year, he has decided to begin his studies.

Fukuoka retired from the national team after the World Cup, where he scored four tries for the hosts.

“My greatest desire is to live without regret,” he said during a remote briefing with media on Sunday.

“I can see this decision as the cleanest way to do it.

“I can now take the time I would spend at training camp and put it towards studying and preparing for my next career.”

Fukuoka added that the coronavirus pandemic has only sharpened his focus on becoming a doctor.

“Health care will always be needed,” he said.

“I feel my desire to be needed … has only grown stronger.”

Fukuoka still expects to play Top League rugby for his club Panasonic Wild Knights next season. The 2019-2020 season was cancelled because of the pandemic.