Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes 

JAKARTA, INDONESIA - JULY 21: Anders Antonsen of Denmark competes against Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei during the Men's Singles Final match on day six of the Bli Bli Indonesia Open at Istora Gelora Bung Karno on July 21, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - JULY 21: Anders Antonsen of Denmark competes against Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei during the Men's Singles Final match on day six of the Bli Bli Indonesia Open at Istora Gelora Bung Karno on July 21, 2019 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 has been speaking to several athletes whose journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is slowly gathering pace.

FAN Zhendong takes fourth ITTF World Men's Cup title

FAN Zhendong of People's Republic of China poses with the ITTF Men's World Cup trophy and gold medal after winning his third consecutive title
FAN Zhendong of People's Republic of China poses with the ITTF Men's World Cup trophy and gold medal after winning his third consecutive title
© ITTF

This kind of score and the suffering on the field have given me a lot of training and made this victory even more meaningful.

FAN Zhendong has won his third consecutive ITTF World Cup title - his fourth in five years - after defeating fellow team member and reigning Olympic champion MA Long in the final.

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IOC President Thomas Bach praises Olympic Stadium and Village

IOC President Thomas Bach visited the Olympic Stadium on 17 November 2020.
IOC President Thomas Bach visited the Olympic Stadium on 17 November 2020.
Tokyo 2020 / Uta MUKUO

Imagine nine months from now, you’re coming here through this gate and then it will be a real Olympic Stadium.

International Olympic President Thomas Bach had his first visit to the Olympic Stadium and the Olympic and Paralympic Village when in Tokyo last week. His message to athletes was quite simple: You will love Tokyo 2020.

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Anton Zappelli tees up for Tokyo 2020 glory

Ⓒ Paralympics Australia
Ⓒ Paralympics Australia

I upset a lot of people in the sporting world back then, but I had a great time; 4-5 years travelling Australia in a wheelchair with some great people was something I wouldn’t change

After originally starting in athletics in the 1990s, Australia's Anton Zappelli long and times windy path lead him to the sport of shooting. After representing his country at Rio 2016 - two decades after his last attempt of qualifying for a Paralympics,  Zappelli is looking forward to borders reopening so he can commence his preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

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Tokyo 2020 could be Emma Twigg's career swansong

Emma Twigg of New Zealand in action during the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Emma Twigg of New Zealand in action during the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

If Tokyo means that I achieved my dream of an Olympic medal, then awesome. But also, at the same time, just being there and experiencing it is a different perspective for me.

After missing out on a podium finish at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and then Rio 2016, Emma Twigg thought her rowing career had come to an end. But after taking time away from the sport, she reignited her passion and is now squaring up a return to the Olympic stage at Tokyo 2020.

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Monica Aksamit: I wouldn't be where I am without my stubbornness

Monica Aksamit of the United States celebrates against Ilaria Bianco of Italy during the Women's Sabre Team bronze medal match between United States and Italy at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Monica Aksamit of the United States celebrates against Ilaria Bianco of Italy during the Women's Sabre Team bronze medal match between United States and Italy at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

My family complains about me being stubborn whatever, which I can understand how that's an annoying character in people, but I definitely don't give up

Monica Aksamit was part of the United States team that won bronze at Rio 2016 in the women's sabre team event. However, there is one thing to know about the New York-based athlete: she isn't one to give up. From qualifying for Rio 2016 to fundraising to have another shot at Olympic glory, Aksamit shares her journey with the Olympic Channel.

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The rhythm and rhyme in shot put

Competing at the Athletics New Zealand Track and Field Championships
Competing at the Athletics New Zealand Track and Field Championships
Provided by Ben Tuimaseve

I don’t try to inspire but I just work hard, be honest and accountable all while trying to remain myself.

If I happen to inspire you, please let me know so I can add ‘Inspirationer’ to my CV

Taking up shot put as a way of trying something for himself, Ben Tuimaseve now finds himself on the path to qualifying for his first Paralympic Games. Find out how the New Zealander's love of music and family have helped him on his journey to becoming a Para athlete.

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The art of being Anders Antonsen

Anders Antonsen of Denmark competes against Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei during the Men's Singles Final match at the 2019 Indonesia Open (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
Anders Antonsen of Denmark competes against Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei during the Men's Singles Final match at the 2019 Indonesia Open (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I want to to reach the absolute top.

Who doesn't want to win an Olympic gold medal? That is the best that you can achieve maybe in all of sports.

As others gathered around the television watching the Beijing 2008 Games, Anders Antonsen was hitting the shuttlecock in his backyard. Twelve years later, the 23-year-old - now among the crème de la crème of world badminton - is aiming to replicate what Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen did at the 1996 Atlanta Games – win a men’s singles gold medal.

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IPC President: Paralympics needed more than ever in 2021

Andrew Parsons -  International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President
Andrew Parsons - International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President
2019 Getty Images

At a time of crisis, the world needs inclusion, not exclusion.

Marking the end of an IOC-IPC Project Review with Tokyo 2020, IPC President Andrew Parsons believed the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are needed more than ever to put disability back at the heart of the inclusion agenda.

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SUN Yiwen: Aiming to leave a mark on Chinese fencing history 

SUN Yiwen celebrates beating Lauren Rembi of France during the Women's Epee Individual Bronze Medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
SUN Yiwen celebrates beating Lauren Rembi of France during the Women's Epee Individual Bronze Medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

I would not set a target and stop once I reach it. My goal has no limit.

Although I don’t set my ambitions very high, I will keep on improving.

SUN Yiwen remembers watching fencing at the Beijing 2008 Games with her classmates but not knowing exactly what was happening as a novice fencer herself. Fast-forward eight years and the People's Republic of China athlete was winning a silver and bronze medal at Rio 2016. The world No.3 spoke with Tokyo 2020 about her pathway to the top and how the postponement has affected preparations for next year's Olympic Games.

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