The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Damian Quintero of Spain competes in the Men's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
Damian Quintero of Spain competes in the Men's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)

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.

KAMIJI Yui: A gold for the home Games

Kamiji smiles during the Tokyo 2020 interview
Kamiji smiles during the Tokyo 2020 interview

At the Rio 2016 Games, I did win a bronze medal, but I can’t say that I had so much fun.

At the Tokyo 2020 Games, I will of course aim for a gold medal, but on top of that, I hope to be able to enjoy playing.

Ahead of Kamiji Yui's her fourth French Open crown, she spoke to Tokyo 2020 about her Paralympic Games debut, her frustration after winning bronze at Rio 2016 and wanting to enjoy a home Games next summer.

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Nadal and Swiatek create history in Paris

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning championship point during his Men's Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the 2020 French Open (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning championship point during his Men's Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the 2020 French Open (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

For me, honestly, one month and a half ago if you tell me you're going to have this trophy with you again, I will say, this year will probably be too difficult.

Playing in the Parisian autumn, this year's French Open provided history-making moments in the men's and women's singles. As Rafael Nadal all but cemented his 'King of the Clay' title, a Polish teenager stunned the world with a dream fortnight run at Roland Garros.

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Sam Schröder: 'I couldn’t give up'

Sam Schroder of the Netherlands celebrates with the championship trophy after winning his Wheelchair Quad Singles final at the 2020 US Open (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Sam Schroder of the Netherlands celebrates with the championship trophy after winning his Wheelchair Quad Singles final at the 2020 US Open (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

I think every player probably does that [thinks about winning gold], but I don’t think it’s anything you can imagine.

Just hopefully I get to experience it myself one day.

Going to the Paralympic Games has been a goal of Dutch wheelchair tennis player Sam Schroder for the past five years and after winning the U.S. Open in September, he is well on his way to qualifying and making his dreams come true.

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Donavan Brazier happy to be living in the moment with Tokyo 2020 on the horizon 

DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 01: Donavan Brazier of the United States celebrates winning the Men's 800 Metres final during day five of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on October 01, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 01: Donavan Brazier of the United States celebrates winning the Men's 800 Metres final during day five of 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on October 01, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I still think I have a lot of potential.

But all potential means is that you haven’t done it yet.

After the "relief" of his spectacular 800m World Championships win in 2019, Donavan Brazier is preparing for Tokyo 2020 - one step at a time. Tokyo 2020 caught up with him to talk about everything from bouncing back from disappointment, to finding redemption in Doha and a possible future in the NFL.

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World No. 1 Damian Quintero: Welcome to the golden age of karate

Damian Quintero of Spain all smiles after winning a gold medal in the Men's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games in 2019 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
Damian Quintero of Spain all smiles after winning a gold medal in the Men's Individual Kata event during the ANOC World Beach Games in 2019 (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images for ANOC)
2019 Getty Images

What goes through your head is that you've been training for three and a half years for one day, in my sport which debuts at Tokyo 2020, the first time we're on an Olympic programme, where we belong.

With karate set to make its Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020, Damian Quintero is looking forward to competing on the world's greatest sporting stage. While the Spanish athlete, who is at the centre of the "golden age" of karate kata in Spain, is not considering retirement yet, he can see a bright future in the next generation of Spanish karatekas.

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Antonios Tsapatakis soul-searching for Paralympic gold

Antonios Tsapatakis of Greece reacts after he competes in the heats of the Men's 100m Breaststroke SB4 at the 2016 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Antonios Tsapatakis of Greece reacts after he competes in the heats of the Men's 100m Breaststroke SB4 at the 2016 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
2015 Getty Images

If I had to choose either the gold medal or to stand up again, I would choose the first one.

I think the gold medal would make my soul stronger and taller.

In 2006, Antonios Tsapatakis life changed when he lost the use of his legs. However, since then the 32-year-old has dedicated his life to being a Para swimmer and motivational speaker. His goal is to win a Paralympic medal and after narrowly missing out at both London 2012 and Rio 2016. Could Tokyo 2020 be his time?

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Japan Men's Volleyball team: Ready to take on Tokyo 2020 and beyond

(c)JVA

We are hoping to give our all at the Tokyo 2020 Games, where many Japanese people will be watching, and reach the podium.

That is our goal.

Japan’s men’s national volleyball team is undergoing evolution. After failing to qualify for the past two Olympic Games, the team is ready to do their nation proud on home soil next year. At the helm is head coach NAKAGAICHI Yuichi, a former Olympic basketballer, who spoke to Tokyo 2020 about building the right team and plan for a home Games.

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