TOKYO (Reuters) - Australian skeet shooter Paul Adams learned he had made the team for the Tokyo Olympics on Friday and while he will have to wait until 2021 to compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic he says the postponement will only make athletes hungrier for success.
The International Olympic Committee and Japanese government finally succumbed to intense pressure from athletes and sporting bodies around the world last month when they agreed to put back the Games by a year.
A day before that unprecedented decision was taken, Shooting Australia were holding their final Olympic trials to decide who would be on the plane to Tokyo.
Adams, who also competed at Rio 2016, found out on Friday that he, along with 14 others, had qualified.
But with strict measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus still in place in Australia, Adams is finding it difficult to train.
“Our gyms are closed in Australia, my gun club was closed as well, even though I have private access to the club,” he told Reuters via Skype from his home in Brisbane.
“When I am at home I might put my shooting jacket on and just try swinging the gun around, keeping the feeling in my muscles and trying to keep the feeling. But no shooting at the moment and no gym routine.”
The 27-year-old said that with athletes being denied the chance to do what they love during the lockdown they would relish the opportunity to get back into action when given the green light.
“Maybe when we come back we will be hungry for it and really trying to compete,” he said. “So next year we might see some world records broken in lots of different events, which would be a pretty cool thing to see.”
A reservist in the Australian Navy, Adams also works a full-time job as a theatre nurse.
While he has not had to deal with any COVID-19 cases so far Adams says there is no let up in the number of people coming through the hospital doors sick and injured.
“In my hospital we don’t have any COVID cases at the moment, which is great, I am trying to keep it that way,” said Adams.
“But at the end of the day people are still hurting themselves and getting sick just generally.
“People are doing a little bit of DIY at home, people are learning to cook, cutting themselves, cutting their tendons, so all that sort of small trauma stuff we get put down for.”
Although non-essential surgery has been put on the backburner during the pandemic, Adams is wary of the backlog having an impact down the line.
“It (non-essential surgery) will come back slowly because it is going to put quite a large strain, I think personally, on our system,” he said.
“If we don’t do a lot of cases then at the end of all this we will be working like headless chooks (chickens) and we are going to be flat out everyday just trying to catch up.
“Hopefully, in the next month or so we can try and relax (restrictions in) Australia in what kind of categories we can do and try and get some people through.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford