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Athletes will be able to adjust to the Olympics and Paralympics moving to 2021


By Andrew Henderson

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Karen Darke is confident that athletes will be able to adjust to the Olympic and Paralympic delay.

Karen Darke
Karen Darke

One of the major sporting casualties of the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced in March that the Tokyo Games would be delayed.

The decision put an end to a period of uncertainty for athletes, after a stage where they were being told to train as normal for the event happening in 2020 while other sports were being cancelled and lockdown procedure was getting brought in.

For hand cyclist Darke, based in Inverness, the challenge comes with building performance up to a peak 12 months down the line.

“You can’t peak for an Olympics every year, so people would have been building up, preparing to be on their best form for this summer,” Darke explained.

“Most sports will have a lot of uncertainty about when their competitions will be, or if there will be a season this year. I personally don’t know if I’ll have any races this year or not.

“All I’m doing is training in a fairly steady way, not pushing myself too much because I don’t want to destroy my immune system right now.

“That’s all any of us can do really, change what we do and reset the course for next summer.”

Darke was first gearing up for the World Championships in Belgium at the start of June, which have not yet been cancelled, although Darke thinks they are unlikely to go ahead.

However, she believes that her experience can help her make the necessary adjustments to stay competitive when races do start up again.

“I’m used to making lots of adjustments regularly, but there will probably be younger athletes who will find it hard to adapt” she said.

“To be honest, most athletes I know are taking it in their stride really well. It’s just how it is, it’s the only choice.

“All you can do is adapt to your circumstances. It may change, we may not be going back to a world that we’re used to, but it won’t be like this forever.”


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