NZ athletes optimistic competing in the Tokyo Olympics still a possibility

May 26, 2021

NZ athletes optimistic competing in the Tokyo Olympics still a possibility

Swimmer Lewis Clareburt is a medal hope after a string of good form (Supplied: NZOC)

New Zealand Olympic hopefuls are preparing to be in Japan and ready to compete in less than two months despite the current global COVID-19 crisis.

Black Sticks hockey player Sam Lane, who’ll be attending his first Olympics in July, is optimistic the event will go ahead.

“I’ve been trying to block out all the noise in the background, at the end of the day we have to focus as if it is going ahead, we have been training for a long time, so we have to go in with the mindset and training routine as if it’s going ahead”

A global debate surrounding the safety and ethics of whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics should go ahead is coming to a climax, with the start date just 58 days away.

Lane admits COVID-19 brings several complications.

“I guess it’s a difficult one, because there is still the pandemic going on and a lot of people are frowning upon it, but it’s an exciting opportunity, and if it does go ahead it can show that there is huge potential out there,” he said.

Swimmer Lewis Clareburt will also be a first-time Olympian at Tokyo. The medley specialist targets the 400 and 200m medleys as his key races.

Clareburt is excited to be a part of such a massive event and is impressed with COVID protocols and information from both the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.

“There has been really good communication around the whole thing,” he said.

The 21-year-old concedes the Games will be tough and there’s potential for athletes to miss out because of COVID-19 complications, but says he’s focusing on what he can control.

“When I get to the start line, I tell myself, ‘it’s not who isn’t there, it’s who is there’, and that’s all that matters.”

The opening ceremony is currently set for July 23 with the closing ceremony on August 8. At this stage, the full schedule is set to run as planned with no international spectators allowed.

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