Coronavirus: ‘Dreams and aspirations’ at risk as Olympic future decided


These are powerful occasions for skilled athletes 4 months out from an Olympic Games.

With warm-up and qualifying occasions postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the likes of two-time taekwondo Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad really feel they’re all coaching in limbo – even when they’re fortunate sufficient to nonetheless be capable of prepare.

“Mentally it’s been very difficult these last few days,” he stated.

“I really feel just like the rug has been pulled from below me.

“It’s not simply me – I’m in touch with numerous athletes from a number of totally different sports activities and lots of people really feel a bit misplaced proper now. To prepare with out an apparent objective you’re feeling such as you’re coaching in limbo.

“Things have been cancelled, you are undecided about rescheduling, it is a bit unusual. I’ve ever skilled something like this.

“We’ve been training for four years – everything is geared up to the Olympics, there’s definitely a feeling of uncertainty but we have to trust that the IOC [International Olympic Committee] will make the best decision – let’s see.”

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The Olympics is supposed to be in Tokyo this yr however coronavirus would possibly put a cease to that

A bronze medallist in 2012 and a silver medallist in Rio, he’s British taekwondo’s most profitable ever male athlete, well-known for breaking down in tears after lacking out on the gold medal within the final second of the 2016 last.

But 4 years of damage means he is not an computerized choice this time for the one heavyweight (87kg plus) spot on the group. Instead it is between him and Mahama Cho.

Returning to profitable methods earlier than Christmas with a giant victory at the French Open, the 28-year-old wanted the warm-up occasions and the postponed European Championships to choose up factors, show himself to the selectors, and get competitors sharp.

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“I used to be upset. We have been actually simply making ready to go to the Belgium Open once we heard it was cancelled two days earlier than.

“It’s positively an annoying feeling to do all that preparation and work, and to get myself again in a profitable place however I believe it is clear now, it is a matter of life and demise and we are able to all see that sport can take a again seat.”

The athletes have been informed by the sports activities governing physique, like everybody else, that they should wash their arms incessantly and be aware of private hygiene.

“As skilled athletes we now have to be further cautious with this type of factor, a possible sickness this near the Games may utterly sideline your preparation anyway”, the IOC recommendation states.

Lutalo Muhammad (R) of Great Britain competes against Cheick Sallah Cisse of Cote d'Ivoire in the Men's Taekwondo -80kg Gold Medal Contest on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 3 on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Muhammad in motion towards Cheick Sallah Cisse of Cote d’Ivoire in 2016

Muhammad suspects the Olympics must be pushed again despite the fact that the IOC has stated the Games will go forward as deliberate and on Thursday Tokyo 2020 organisers obtained the Olympic flame in a ceremony at Athens Panathenaic stadium.

But many athletes cannot prepare or compete as they usually would in an Olympic build-up interval, which means most would go to the Games under-prepared.

Gold medal favourites such as heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who relies in France, stated on social media: “The data of the IOC and native authorities are at odds with each other.

“The IOC recommendation ‘encourages athletes to proceed to organize for the Olympic Games as finest they will’, however authorities laws is imposing isolation at house, with tracks, gyms and public areas closed.”

Even so, Muhammad cannot bear the thought that the Games could possibly be cancelled.

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Most of the world’s nations compete within the Olympics, making it the sporting occasion of the yr

“It would be a major disappointment. How many thousands of athletes have prepared for this for four years, you say four years but really it’s a lifetime of training,” he stated.

“We’ve had these dreams and aspirations since we were little boys and girls to go to the Olympics and represent our country and hopefully win a medal. With just a couple of months to go, if it were to get cancelled it would be devastating.”

He is likely one of the fortunate ones: GB Taekwondo in Manchester stays open, permitting athletes to at least keep it up coaching for an Olympics which will, or could not, occur.



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