Aquatics / Athletics / Olympics

King and Daley keep their focus, despite Olympic Games postponement

PLYMOUTH athlete David King is determined to focus on the positive side of the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Sprint hurdler King had been gearing all his efforts to trying to make the Great Britain team for the Games after agonisingly missing out four years ago.

He had self-funded a move to America to train in Phoenix with top American hurdlers Devon Allen and Freddie Crittenden under the guidance of Tim O’Neil.

Now, like every other Olympic hopeful, his plans have changed with the Tokyo Games getting postponed to 2021 due to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.

“Honestly, another year of training will be nothing but beneficial for me,” said King, who retained his British indoor title in February. “Two years in a new set-up will always be better than one year.

“However, moving to Phoenix for me was a one-year last big push for the Olympics.

“I had saved up money to be able to do it, since I wouldn’t be able to work while in the USA. The year postponement means that I will have to try to fund one more year in Phoenix. I’m not sure yet if I will be able to do it, but I’m going to have to rely on the generosity of the general public and companies. It’s a really confusing time for me and other athletes.”

Speaking from Arizona, he added: “The whole situation is pretty crazy.

“I made it out to the US just before it (the coronavirus pandemic) got serious and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been very lucky that I’ve been able to train uninterrupted.

“My group has been able to use the track and gym at the high school where we are based, even though they have been closed. But unfortunately our access has now been revoked, which is a great shame as we have been adhering to government advice.

“We’re not on lockdown here so we will be able to adapt and use local parks and canal paths. Also we have a home gym here so we will be okay.

“My flight home is booked for May 18. But at the moment I think this (Phoenix) is the best place for me to be during the pandemic because I can at least try to make some good progress with my coach and training group, so I’m going to try to stay here as long as possible.”

King, who has competed at World and European Championships, is not sure what is going to happen to the rest of the season.

“Now with the Olympics postponed we’re all in a bit of a strange position,” he said.

“There is talk that there will be a late track season and as we speak the European Championships (In August 25-30) have not been cancelled or postponed. So there may still be some competitions to prepare for.

“We’re going to do everything we can to be ready for any late competitions but in terms of training we are watering it down a bit and just making sure that we are in great shape, while also ready to race if need be.”

Meanwhile, Plymouth diver Tom Daley says he will still be eyeing gold in Tokyo, despite the delay.

Daley was expecting to compete at his fourth Olympic Games this summer.

The two-time world champion has already won bronze medals at  the 2012 and 2016 Games, but his dream is to top the podium.

He said: “Waiting one more year to reach for our dreams is well worth the sacrifice to help keep people safe.

“Yes, I’ll be another year older, and my body will feel that, but I promise to work my tail off to make Team GB as proud as I can when the time comes.”

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