Ivory Coast Taekwondo queen Ruth Gbagbi, who has qualified for the Games, is not optimistic that athletes will be able to keep their form, mood and spirit when the Olympics finally come around in 2021
Originally scheduled to hold from July 24 to August 9, the 2020 Summer Olympics Games will suffer a twelve-month delay after they were put off until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is not the only bad news for the more than 11,000 athletes expected at the Games. Most of them are currently unable to practice to keep up form following social restrictions across the globe.
“No athlete is happy right now. We are all downcast. Our hopes are shattered. Our strength is gone. And that is very dangerous for the life and career of a sports person. Beside your physical attributes, you need a bright and sound psyche,” she told www.ACLsports.com
“The qualification to the Olympic Games is just one part of the whole thing. You need to train very hard, attend minor or major events in the build up and perhaps obtain some sponsorship, local or international. But, all that is not possible now because of the Covid-19.
“We can’t train. Major sports arenas are currently shut down. Athletes are scattered across the globe. Some are stranded in foreign countries and can’t come home due to travel restrictions. Can you think of Olympics when you are hungry and hopeless?
“Most importantly, athletes perform better when they practice together. For example, I do taekwondo, which is a combat discipline. You need a partner to fight with, on a ring. Where are they? Where is the ring? All closed,” she said.
However, her ticket to Japan 2020 gives her some strength to soldier on until social life returns to normal.
“Every day, I tell myself that I am Olympics bound and I must protect that mood in order to stay mentally fit. I do light practices at home, at our backyard and then run a few miles per week. It’s not enough but we have no choice.”
Gbagbi clinched bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil.