The Road to Tokyo 2020: A week in quotes

Daniel Dhers of Venezuela celebrates in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Daniel Dhers of Venezuela celebrates in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/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.

Daniel Dhers: The child who hated bikes but ended up flying on one

Daniel Dhers of Venezuela competes in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Daniel Dhers of Venezuela competes in the Cycling BMX Men's Freestyle at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

It was only when I was 12 years old that my friends started riding bikes and I was alone, so I dusted the bicycle off.

I hid so that they would not see me learning, and I learned.

Next year, Daniel Dhers will be making his debut on the world's biggest sporting stage when BMX freestyle makes it's first Olympic Games appearance. However, the Venezuelan love for the sport started off very differently.

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Derek Derenalagi made Fiji move to break barriers

Derek Derenalagi of Fiji competed in the Men's Open Discus Throw Seated Wheelchair event during the 2019 Arafura Games where he won gold
Derek Derenalagi of Fiji competed in the Men's Open Discus Throw Seated Wheelchair event during the 2019 Arafura Games where he won gold
ⒸAustralian Paralympic Committee

I want to raise awareness and encourage people with disability in Fiji.

I want them to know they can live a better life if you don’t see your disability as a wall or a limit to achieving things.

Derek Derenalagi is a former British Paralympian who is now representing his birth country of Fiji. The reason for his switch came down to one thing: wanting to break barriers and stigma's surrounding impairments on the island nestled in the Pacific.

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Ariya Jutanugarn: "I wanted to be the best golfer I could be"

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand plays a shot at the second hole during the 2020 Ladies Scottish Open (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand plays a shot at the second hole during the 2020 Ladies Scottish Open (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

My goal was always clear that I wanted to be the best golfer I could be and to take good care of my family.

That’s all I ever wanted to achieve so I never felt that I sacrificed anything to pursue my career in golf.

Former world No.1 Ariya Jutanugarn is on a mission to regain her footing in the golf world but the 24-year-old also sees Tokyo 2020 as chance to finish where she has left off in Rio 2016.

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Simone Christensen puts plans to become a surgeon on hold to chase Olympic dream

Simone Christensen of Denmark competes in the Cycling - BMX Women's Seeding Run at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Simone Christensen of Denmark competes in the Cycling - BMX Women's Seeding Run at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

... that's also why I have my studies on hold,

is to give myself the best opportunity to be able to compete for a medal because I know the competition is hot

Simone Christensen is Denmark's top medal hope for Tokyo 2020. The BMX racer even put her studies in medicine on hold to pursue a dream all athletes have when they go to an Olympic Games: winning an Olympic medal.

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Kristel Köbrich: The consistency in the water

Kristel Köbrich of Chile competes in the 1500m Freestyle during the 2019 Pro Swim Series in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Kristel Köbrich of Chile competes in the 1500m Freestyle during the 2019 Pro Swim Series in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I am no longer 15-years-old.

I work, I live, I am passionate about this, and I understand why I do it.

And I still want to compete for my country - [it's] something that I love.

Kristel Köbrich has been training the same way almost every day for almost two decades. However, the excitement she feels going to an Olympic Games hasn't changed since she made her debut as a 19-year-old at Athens 2004.

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Judo brings joy to Iran's Kheirollahzadeh

(L) Mohammad Reza Kheirollahzadeh sets sight on Tokyo
(L) Mohammad Reza Kheirollahzadeh sets sight on Tokyo
ⒸIBSI

In time, seeing the respect from my society and being considered a visually impaired hero, made me improve my self-confidence.

Judo has changed the life of Mohammad Reza Kheirollahzadeh and he's relishing for a chance of a Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020 next year. However, the visually impaired athlete has not always had the easy path.

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Fast, fit and furious Srikanth gunning for gold at Tokyo 2020

भारत के Kidambi Srikanth 2019 इंडोनेशिया ओपन में जापान के Nishimoto Kenta के खिलाफ खेलते हुए। (फोटो Robertus Pudyanto/गेट्टी इमेजेस द्वारा)
भारत के Kidambi Srikanth 2019 इंडोनेशिया ओपन में जापान के Nishimoto Kenta के खिलाफ खेलते हुए। (फोटो Robertus Pudyanto/गेट्टी इमेजेस द्वारा)
2019 Getty Images

I have been there already so I definitely know that I can do it again.

I want to definitely regain the form I lost in 2017 and perhaps even better myself

Kidambi Srikanth is one of India’s biggest hopes for a badminton medal at Tokyo 2020 and he wants to not only regain the form that saw him become the world No.1 in 2018 but win an Olympic gold medal.

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