The road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10:  Gold medallists Russia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's Teams Synchronised Swimming Free Routine final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 10, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Gold medallists Russia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's Teams Synchronised Swimming Free Routine final on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busying themselves in preparation for the resumption of live sport, with some countries allowing training complexes to open and others even giving the green light for competitive action to start.

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

Angelika Timanina: from swimming pools to surfing boards

Angelika Timanina on surfing switch: "Water is my natural element"
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I was already an Olympic champion, the dream of my whole life had already come true.

After a brilliant artistic swimming career, Angelika Timanina has made the unlikely move to surfing.

The former Russian Federation artistic swimmer won all possible titles up for grabs including European and World Championships as well as Olympic gold at London 2012.

However after failing to qualify for Rio 2016, the 30-year-old athlete has turned her attention elsewhere to compete at Tokyo 2020.

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Steven Da Costa: a pioneer seeking gold

Steven Da Costa of France (red) and Ricardo Giegler of Germany (blue) compete in the Men's Kumite -67kg semi-final during the Baku 2015 European Games (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
Steven Da Costa of France (red) and Ricardo Giegler of Germany (blue) compete in the Men's Kumite -67kg semi-final during the Baku 2015 European Games (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
2015 Getty Images

Every time I fought in Tokyo, I never won.

It’s time to make a difference.

Da Costa is on a singular quest: to be part of the team who will capture the first Olympic gold in karate, which will make its debut at Tokyo 2020.

The 23-year-old French athlete is like his Far West ancestors from the 19th century - only gold matters.

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Barbra Banda: 'We have something within us'

Barbra Banda in action against Cameroon during the final round of the Women's CAF Olympic Qualification Tournament
Barbra Banda in action against Cameroon during the final round of the Women's CAF Olympic Qualification Tournament
FAZ

We just have to stand as one and everything will be possible.

Zambia’s women’s football team are set to make history next summer when they make their Olympic Games debut.

The Copper Queens, as they're known, have never qualified for a FIFA Women’s World Cup and have only previously participated in three African Women’s Championships. In fact, the last time Zambia participated in an Olympic Football tournament was at Seoul 1988.

Their captain, Barbra Banda, is one of the only players to have competed outside the country and is raring for the Games to start.

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Frazer Clarke: The world will know who I am

Frazer Clarke of England celebrates winning his Men's Super Heavy +91kg semi-final bout against Patrick Mailata of New Zealand at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Frazer Clarke of England celebrates winning his Men's Super Heavy +91kg semi-final bout against Patrick Mailata of New Zealand at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

I’ve got itchy knuckles now.

I can't wait to punch someone.

The British super heavyweight champion who was stabbed in the neck as he celebrated the birth of his first child, walked into a terror attack, was overlooked for London 2012 and Rio 2016, and was just two fights away from qualifying for Tokyo 2020 – only for COVID-19 to curtail qualification – pulls no punches in plotting a return to the ring and promises to fight until his last breath for Olympic glory.

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Anrune Weyers: I still have this gift so I am not done yet

Anrune Weyers of the Republic of South Africa celebrates winning the Women's 400m T47 at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Anrune Weyers of the Republic of South Africa celebrates winning the Women's 400m T47 at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

Running helped me to develop the person I was, the character that I was, and I think that was God's plan for me as a person.

World champion and two-time Paralympic medallist from the Republic of South Africa is more ready than ever to take on Tokyo.

She will be running with more than a gold medal on her mind as she aims to raise awareness of Para athletes in her country.

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