x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Doubly defeated

The 2020 Olympics have only just been awarded to Tokyo, but one man is already a loser – for the second time.

It’s often said, erroneously, that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. But if the case of Kohei Jinno is anything to go by, bad luck has a habit of following some people around.

As The National reported this week, Mr Jinno is not among the millions of Japanese people celebrating the fact that Tokyo has won the right to hold the 2020 Olympic Games. Instead, he’s suffering a particularly depressing case of déjà vu.

When Tokyo was awarded the right to hold the 1964 Olympics, the redevelopment project to build a stadium included knocking down Mr Jinno’s house and his tobacco shop. He cleaned cars to support his family until he raised enough money to reopen his business.

Now, it’s about to happen again. The 79-year-old’s apartment and his small shop are to be demolished to make way for Olympics facilities. “Fate has not been kind to me,” Mr Jinno told Reuters. “It may be great fortune for the nation, but having to leave this place fills me with sadness.”

Sporting commentators often speak of the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat. But surely not even missing out on a medal by a millimetre could be as painful as losing your home. Come 2020, as we cheer the winners, we should also spare a thought for the man who lost twice.