The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes 

Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda crosses the line to win the Men's Final Race during the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda crosses the line to win the Men's Final Race during the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/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.

Kiplimo and Jepchirchir take half marathon crowns in Poland

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Final during the Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya crosses the finish line to win the Women's Final during the Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
2020 Getty Images

I feel very happy.

I feel great, it was my first time at the World Half Marathon Championships and I won!

As Olympic hopefuls turned out across the men's and women's elite races at the Half Marathon World Championship in Poland, Jacob Kiplimo did what no Ugandan has done before while Peres Jepchirchir bettered her own world record.

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Game changer for Japanese men’s basketball 

Japanese national athletes SHINOYAMA Ryusei and TSUJI Naoto
Japanese national athletes SHINOYAMA Ryusei and TSUJI Naoto
Tokyo 2020

We are still a long way from earning the gold medal, but we want to demonstrate to the world that our berth was fully deserved and that we can fight on equal terms on the world stage.

Shinomiya and Tsuji eye Tokyo 2020 as chance to transform the sport of basketball after the country's last appearance in the Olympic Games 44 years ago.

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SATOMI Sarina intends to be the 'first queen' in Para badminton

World champion Satomi Sarina is a favourite to win in the singles and doubles along with partner Yamazaki Yuma
World champion Satomi Sarina is a favourite to win in the singles and doubles along with partner Yamazaki Yuma
(c)JPBF

I’m exhilarated about the Games being hosted in Japan because it will help promote the sport to a wider audience. I also want to see people close to me get excited to see me play and win, so I will do my best.

SATOMI Sarina is a world champion and is a favourite to win in both the singles and doubles event next year when Para badminton makes its debut in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

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TOBE Naoto pursues the ultimate high jump

Tobe Naoto juggles both athletics and his research studies.
Tobe Naoto juggles both athletics and his research studies.
(c)JAAF

My training regimen is based 100% on research. I can understand the technical aspects of the high jump because I conduct the research myself.

TOBE Naoto is juggling athletics and research - all in his pursuit to attain the highest level of performance in Tokyo 2020 in the high jump event.

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ARAKI Erika: Aiming for best performance as a fitting grand finale at her home Games

After the Games postponement, Araki joined the national team again as team captain.
After the Games postponement, Araki joined the national team again as team captain.

It wasn’t just my aspiration for the Olympic Games that drove me forward, but also all the hard work that the entire team had put in towards gaining a medal.

I also felt a sense of mission to fulfil my responsibilities as the captain

At the start of the year, Japan's ARAKI Erika had two major decisions to make; firstly, if she wanted to captain the national team towards and secondly, if she would play on after Tokyo 2020 was postponed. However, there was no hesitation. So she intends to give her best as a captain and player at a home Olympics.

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Luca Ekler: 'Para athletics helped me to accept me for who I am'

Luca Eckler sets a new long jump world record (5.51m) in the 2019 Grosetto Grand Prix.
Luca Eckler sets a new long jump world record (5.51m) in the 2019 Grosetto Grand Prix.
Marco Mantovani/FISPES

As athletes we can do a lot to get people to accept us and treat us equally, because we are all the same.

We are all people

Para athletics European and world champion Luca Ekler wants her story to inspire others to join her in track and field. Often competing against able-bodied athletes, the 21-year-old also has another mission.

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Stacey Porter: Belief is a powerful thing

Stacey Porter #16 of Australia celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against United States during their Playoff Round match during the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Stacey Porter #16 of Australia celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against United States during their Playoff Round match during the WBSC Women's Softball World Championship (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

It starts with belief and when a group of people wholeheartedly believe the same, its a very powerful thing.

After 13 years away from the Olympic Games, softball will make it's return and for Stacey Porter it is an exciting time. Australia have proven success at the Olympics and this time they are aiming for the one medal they don't have in their collection.

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