Postponement was best – Clayton
World championship 400m hurdles bronze medallist Rushel Clayton believes that athletes will cherish competing in the now rescheduled Tokyo Olympics more than if they had to take part as initially planned this year.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the new dates for the games yesterday, July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2o21, after they were postponed last Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the new Paralympic Games dates were finalised, now running from August 24, 2021 to September 5, 2021.
"I think that we will be a lot more appreciative because we are facing a lot of setbacks and this should make us stronger," Clayton told STAR Sports.
Weeks of pressure
The 27-year-old will have to wait another year for her Olympic debut because of the postponement which came after weeks of pressure from athletes and countries, some of whom withdrew from the games before the announcement. Clayton says that the decision had to be made to protect the athletes health and to preserve the integrity of the event.
"Everybody wants to be safe," she said. "At the end of the day, you don't want to go out there to compete with [only] two countries. It wouldn't make sense. Going to a Games, you want the best of the best to be there. That's how you know you are great - when you come out on top when the best of the best is competing. I want everybody to be there, so it's safety first."
Clayton has been finding ways to train despite restrictions in place locally, stressing the importance of maintaining fitness during this period.
"You can't just sit back and do nothing," she said. "So you have to do some form of workout. You have to be creative, but at the same time, stay healthy."