Team GB athletes who arrived in Tokyo for the Olympics feel ‘paranoid’ about contracting Covid, which would force them to self-isolate and likely unable to compete, one of the top prospects says of Great Britain Medal.
Bianca Walkden, the taekwondo fighter who won a bronze medal at the Rio Games in 2016, said the entire team is determined to take all measures to ensure that years of training are not wasted at cause of a positive covid test.
“We all have paranoia around the covid,” she admitted at GB’s training camp in Yokohama. “It’s just to make sure we’re all safe. Our masks are on all the time, no matter what, everyone takes all safety precautions. “
“If a person sneezes, we all wonder, ‘What’s going on? We just want to get past that now and compete. “
Walkden dominated the 73 kg category, winning three consecutive world titles and a third European gold medal in Sofia in April. In Tokyo, she will be alongside her close friend Jade Jones, two-time Olympic taekwondo champion, who hopes to win her third gold medal in the 57kg category.
She said the couple, who are also roommates, enjoy training together and support each other. “We are always pushing each other,” she said.
“We are on the same path for this gold medal. If we were alone it would have been much more difficult, but we were together. “
Jones “deserved it all,” she added. “She gave her all and I would bet on her to become a three-time Olympic champion and bring him home.”
Walken admitted that the athletes wished the circumstances were more like Rio, but said the organizers had done a good job. “We wish we went to the village and that it would be a lot more like the last time,” she said.
Like all athletes in Tokyo, Walken will be flying home immediately after her competition and has said she will be back 28 hours later. “We’ve trained this hard so hopefully I have a brilliant gold medal and literally a drink in my hand and come home,” she said.
She admitted that the post-competition atmosphere would be completely different from those Olympics in previous years. “What happens at the Olympics stays at the Olympics in the village,” she joked. “Everyone has trained so hard for years that when they’re done it’s just a party. It’s just a party. You will have to find the rest – this is an unwritten rule. It won’t be like that this time. We better go home, so the rules will be less strict. “