Several GB team athletes have spoken of their panic and concern after six of their teammates were forced into self-isolation after a passenger on their flight to Tokyo tested positive for Covid.
The six athletes were exempted from training alone at the team’s camp in Yokohama on Monday after showing no symptoms and passing a PCR test, and the hope within the team is that they will resume. full training on Tuesday.
But Britain’s 800m runner Daniel Rowden admitted the news had left many squad members “a little freaked out” as they wondered if they could be next.
“Being locked in a room and not being able to train takes away your confidence, takes away your preparation,” he added. “And then there is also a little fear that the same could happen to us. These athletes were on the flight the day before us, so there is a bit of apprehension that the same could happen to people on our flight as well.
Rowden said the British athletes ate at a table of four or two, but there were large pyrex dividers. “It’s a constant reminder that there is this separation of close contact between all of us,” he added.
However, the middle distance talent, who is an underdog for a medal in the 800m in Tokyo, said it was right for the Games to take place. “People have worked very hard over the past five years to come here. And it’s also a celebration of different cultures, different parts of the world, but also a celebration of sport. We have seen what the euro has done for our country in terms of improving the atmosphere. The Olympics do this for a lot of countries around the world. “
Meanwhile, British sprinter Richard Kilty said the possibility of having close contact with Covid was on everyone’s mind with the Games just four days away. “There is always the fear that you may be contacted at random for some reason, or come into contact with someone, and that you won’t have the chance to train or compete,” he said. declared. “If someone were to miss their individual event so close to the Games, it would be heartbreaking for anyone. I don’t wish it on anyone.
The thin line the athletes face was further illustrated on Monday when Czech beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic became the third athlete to test positive in the Olympic Village in Tokyo. He is set to miss his first game of the tournament next Monday, although officials at the Czech team are frantically trying to get his game moving. A teenage American gymnast, who was not part of the main team, also tested positive for Covid.
However, British 200m runner Beth Dobbin said she felt safe at the team’s camp in Yokohama. “You wouldn’t believe how strict it is here,” she said.
“I have never experienced anything like this. If I caught Covid here I would be so shocked because the only person I’m close to is my roommate and the physiotherapist on the track. That’s it. We are literally so isolated.
Instead of worrying about Covid-19 restrictions in Tokyo or the risk of contracting the virus while there, some Olympic boxers simply saw their current environment as an opportunity. “This is what is,” Pat McCormack said. “Obviously you can’t really get distracted outside the hotel because you can’t leave so it will probably be better for us.” “
McCormack’s twin brother Luke agreed that the lack of distractions makes it easier to focus on their competition: “If we were allowed to do whatever we want in Tokyo, after we finished training at 6 a.m. would be on leave. It’s really better for us. You cannot make mistakes.
“When you come here there are a lot of things to do that might distract you from your boxing. Even fair, when you’re in the hotel all night, you go to bed early, you eat well, you do everything right.
Caroline Dubois, one of the top young hopefuls in British boxing, also highlighted the benefits of being able to focus entirely on the competition and stressed the importance of taking positive points out of all situations: “At the end of the day, we are here for the Olympics. . We are here to do a job. And we just stay focused. We all have good morale and we keep each other motivated. I can’t wait for boxing to start.
On Tuesday July 20 at noon BST, join British Olympians Mary Peters, Fatima Whitbread and Alistair Brownlee for a Guardian Live event broadcast live as they prepare for Tokyo 2020. Book your tickets here.