The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Andrea Cassarà at the Challenge International De Paris in January 2020
Andrea Cassarà at the Challenge International De Paris in January 2020

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.

Andrea Cassarà: The secret is balance

Andrea Cassarà at the Challenge International De Paris in January 2020.
Andrea Cassarà at the Challenge International De Paris in January 2020.
@BIZZI TEAM/Augusto Bizzi / FIE / Eva Pavía

I learned that you have to balance the emotions in a 'winning' situation - when you win and when you lose.

Italian fencing legend Andrea Cassarà is more centred and more confident than ever as he eyes Tokyo 2020 - his fifth Olympic Games - to win his first ever individual gold medal whilst looking ahead to Paris 2024.

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Daniel Dias: Fighting towards fourth Games

My motivation is to be able to able to better all the time and show that I’m able to reach further, have better records

Daniel Dias is Brazil's most decorated Paralympian. He's even been compared to the legendary Michael Phelps. And as Tokyo 2020 celebrated 300 days until the Paralympic Games, we caught up with the Para swimmer to talk about how he keeps motivated and his goals for next year.

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Nikoloz Sherazadishvili: The judoka "between two flags"

Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (white) of Spain shows dejection after losing the Men's -90kg Pool A third round against Axel Clerget of France at the World Judo Championships (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
Nikoloz Sherazadishvili (white) of Spain shows dejection after losing the Men's -90kg Pool A third round against Axel Clerget of France at the World Judo Championships (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I achieved my dream of becoming world champion, and I was able to see the hopes and motivation I created for the future generation.

There are kids in Georgia and Spain who want to be like me and that makes me happy.

Nikoloz Sherazadishvili is a Georgian-born Spanish judoka. Moving to Spain as a teenager, his talent was noticed early on and in 2018 he became the first Spanish male athlete to win a judo world title. Speaking to the Olympic Channel, the 24-year-old explained how he feels connected to and is proud to be from two countries.

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Crafted on the streets of Novi Sad

Dusan Bulut during the 3x3 World Tour playing for Novi Sad
Dusan Bulut during the 3x3 World Tour playing for Novi Sad
Photo provided by FIBA

That's why I think I develop the game of 3x3 more because at the end of day, it was it was much more fun and it was free.

I didn't have any kind of problem with practising or anything and just grab the ball and come down and play.

Dušan Bulut is a world renowned 3x3 basketball player but the world no.1 player has humble beginnings. Tokyo 2020 spoke to the Serbian point guard about how he honed his skills on the courts of Novi Sad which will be on full display next year when the sport of 3x3 basketball makes its Olympic debut.

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Para sport inspires the rite of passage for Vanuatu’s Mathias Nakat

Mathias Nakat during a training session
Mathias Nakat during a training session
©IPC

The moment he ran, I knew we had a potential athlete in the making

Leaving school in grade four due to relentless bullying, Mathias Nakat, who was born with cerebral palsy, was afraid just to leave his house. But that was until he discovered Para athletics. After experiencing many firsts - including leaving his village - he is training hard to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

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