The Road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

Caeleb Dressel of the United States swims in a warm-up pool after setting a championship record in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
Caeleb Dressel of the United States swims in a warm-up pool after setting a championship record in the Men's 50m Freestyle Final at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busying themselves with less than a year to go while some nations have allowed 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.

Elaine Thompson-Herah ends season in style with Doha victory

Elaine Thompson-Heran of Jamaica wins the 100m women during the IAAF Diamond League 40th golden gala 'Pietro Mennea' at Olimpico Stadium on 17 September 2020 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
Elaine Thompson-Heran of Jamaica wins the 100m women during the IAAF Diamond League 40th golden gala 'Pietro Mennea' at Olimpico Stadium on 17 September 2020 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

I am happy to win but my major focus is to finish the year healthy.

Preparations for the Olympics is the next on my agenda, and now it begins in earnest.

The 100m/200m dual Olympic champion struggled with injury after her Rio 2016 success - withdrawing from the World Championships last year. However, two wins in the last two Diamond League appearances have put Jamaica's Elaine Thompson-Herah on the path back to defending her Olympic titles.

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Ahmed Sharbatly rides into Tokyo 2020 for Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Sharbatly looks to make his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020
Ahmed Sharbatly looks to make his Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020
Ⓒ Liz Gregg/FEI

I’m really happy to have qualified for Tokyo.

So I’m focussing on that and working with my federation to grow dressage in the Saudi Arabia.

After coming so close to competing at Rio 2016, but missing out due to injury, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will see Ahmed Sharbatly pursue what he thought was impossible. He will be looking to create history by becoming the first Arabian Para dressage rider at the Games.

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Caeleb Dressel is 'the best male athlete since Michael Phelps'

Caeleb Dressel of the United States celebrates after winning the Men's 100m Butterfly Final at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)
Caeleb Dressel of the United States celebrates after winning the Men's 100m Butterfly Final at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)

He literally is the best male athlete since Michael Phelps, and that's no lie, that's just how it is

American swimmer Caeleb Dressel is considered by many to be the 'next Michael Phelps' and perhaps the best since - including an Olympic legend. The 24-year-old has broken records, already won two Olympic golds and has 13 World Championship titles under his belt.

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Madison de Rozario: I want kids growing up thinking anything is possible

Madison de Rozario of Australia wins the Women's 800m T53 final at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Madison de Rozario of Australia wins the Women's 800m T53 final at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships 2019 Dubai (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I want kids with disabilities to grow up in the world where they don’t hit a point where they realise that the world doesn’t think they are capable of everything.

Australia's Madison de Rozario grew up thinking anything was possible but when she hit high-school she discovered many didn't see things the same way. However, she has gone on to become a three-time Paralympian. The world champion speaks about her pathway to wheelchair sports, what 2018 meant to her and the postponement of Tokyo 2020.

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'I belong here': Raven Saunders battles depression for shot at Tokyo crown

Raven Saunders of Team Americas competes in the Womens Shot Put during the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup at Mestsky Stadium  in Ostrava, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for IAAF)
Raven Saunders of Team Americas competes in the Womens Shot Put during the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup at Mestsky Stadium in Ostrava, Czech Republic. (Photo by Lukas Schulze/Getty Images for IAAF)
2018 Getty Images

Just focusing on myself for once, it was amazing, it was needed, it was a wonderful break.

And it was a life saver.

The USA's Raven Saunders came fifth in the Rio 2016 shot put competition at only 21 years of age. But less than two years later she had hit rock bottom and contemplated taking her own life. Now she is using her personal experiences and status as an athlete to help others and de-stigmatise negative attitudes towards mental health.

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