Pokemon D’oh! Japanese gymnastics star Kohei Uchimura racks up HK$38,000 phone bill playing game at Rio Olympics

Favourite for gold medal did not realise he was paying for data

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 August, 2016, 11:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 10:47am

Gymnastics star Kohei Uchimura is famed for his balance, but he might have been feeling a bit wobbly when his phone bill landed at the Rio Olympics.

The Japanese great, who is bidding to become the first in more than 40 years to win back-to-back golds in the all-around, racked up a phone bill equivalent to more than HK$38,000 as he tracked down Pokemon at the Athlete’s Village.

“500,000 yen...” the six-time world champion told Kyodo news agency.

Apparently he believed he was on a flat data rate.

“He looked dead at the team meal that day,” said teammate Kenzo Shirai.

But Uchimura only had to pay 3,000 yen after contacting the phone company and pleading his case. No doubt their reluctance to be blamed if he flops in Brazil played a part.

“I really lucked out,” Uchimura said.

The augmented reality smartphone game, based on IP licensed from Japanese firm Nintendo, has been a global phenomenon since being released a few weeks ago.