The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Callum Hawkins of Great Britain competes in the Men's Marathon during the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Callum Hawkins of Great Britain competes in the Men's Marathon during the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with less than six months 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 gathering pace.

Alexi Pappas: Searching for seashells for the sandcastle of me 

Greek/American Olympian, filmmaker and author Alexi Pappas.
Greek/American Olympian, filmmaker and author Alexi Pappas.
© JoAnna Forsythe.

I just want to keep building on the sandcastle of me and see what seashells I can find

– and just keep making it.

The Olympian, filmmaker and author, Alexi Pappas spoke to Tokyo 2020 about everything from a childhood marked by tragedy to fulfilling her Olympic dream, conquering Hollywood and dealing with mental health issues. 

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Peru's Pedro Pablo de Vinatea, a trailblazer for Para badminton

Three-time Pan American champion De Vinatea continues training in isolation during the coronavirus lockdown in Peru in 2020.  (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)
Three-time Pan American champion De Vinatea continues training in isolation during the coronavirus lockdown in Peru in 2020. (Photo by Raul Sifuentes/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

Para badminton has changed our lives.

This visibility is important, the results are not only sporty, but we have had an even bigger impact.

Peruvian Pedro Pablo de Vinatea has always remained optimistic from treatment against cancer to keeping his Tokyo 2020 qualification dreams alive. However, the Para badminton player has also been behind the growth of the sport in his home country, which has resulted Peru in becoming one of the strongest countries.

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Callum Hawkins: When the heat is on

Callum Hawkins of Great Britain competes in the Men's Marathon during the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
Callum Hawkins of Great Britain competes in the Men's Marathon during the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I could easily get a medal but I could easily finish outside the top 10.

For championship marathons, it's a bit of a gamble, anyone can do it!

Team GB's Callum Hawkins is the first British athlete to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 marathon. Following two fourth-placed finished at the World Championships, and a famous fall when he was in the lead at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Scottish athlete is hoping to take home a medal from this year's Olympic Games.

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Blake Cochrane: Reigniting the passion

Blake Cochrane of Australia competes during the Men's SM8 200m Individual Medley at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Blake Cochrane of Australia competes during the Men's SM8 200m Individual Medley at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

My head kind of wasn't in it but then I don't know, it just started to turn another page. The fitness started to come back.

That passion and that excitement of why I do swimming, sort of came back as well.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be Blake Cochrane's last. With a career already spanning three Paralympics alongside numerous World Championships and Commonwealth Games, it was time to hang up the swimmers. But when the pandemic postponed the Games, the Australian questioned if he should continue swimming.

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Meaghan Benfeito thankful for support after fire tragedy

Meaghan Benfeito of Canada competes during the Women's Diving 10m Platform final at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Meaghan Benfeito of Canada competes during the Women's Diving 10m Platform final at the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
2017 Getty Images

I've said thank-you a million times in the past few days but I don't think it's enough to repay everybody that's been there for me.

Canadian diver Meaghan Benfeito lost everything when the condo she shares with her partner, Canadian football fullback Alexandre Dupuis, burnt to the ground after a fire broke out in the building. But the diving community has rallied around the three-time Olympian, who has been overwhelmed with love and support.

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Meet Rami Anis – IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder

Olympic refugee team swimmer Rami Anis trains at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Olympic refugee team swimmer Rami Anis trains at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
2016 Getty Images

I wish, from my heart, to go back to my country, to represent my team again, to take my flag with me, to swim with my friends there.

After competing with the first ever Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016, Rami Anis, who had to flee Syria, is hoping to return to the biggest sporting stage once again but this time in Tokyo. The butterfly specialist, clocked a new personal-best at the 2017 World Championships and now wants to improve upon that.

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TOKAIRIN Dai: Notebook of success transforms negative mindset to positive

Tokairin Dai holds a world record in the SM14 men’s 200m individual medley event
Tokairin Dai holds a world record in the SM14 men’s 200m individual medley event
(c) X-1

As I continued writing in the ‘notebook of success’, I became less and less negative...

After crushingly missing making the squad for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Japanese swimmer Tokairin Dai had to learn to change is mindset. With the help of his parents, it has already led to great success after he booked his ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Games and breaking a world record at the 2019 Para Swimming World Championships.

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