Rikako Ikee

THE COUNTDOWN STARTS: Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee holds a lantern containing the Olympic flame during an event yesterday marking one year until the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

—Photo: AFP

With the one-year countdown to the revised Tokyo 2020 Olympics starting yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) president Brian Lewis says the example set by the national athletes to pursue their dreams could be an inspiration to the national community.

In a statement issued yester­day, Lewis said the Olympic movement had been challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic—that cancelled sporting activity back in March—but “the circumstances have propelled athletes to display dedication and determination in stepping up and pushing forward to pursue their lifelong Olympic dream.

“The unwavering and indomitable spirit of Team TTO athletes in the face of the challenges and setbacks of the unprecedented global public health crisis should be observed and embraced as elements of motivation and inspiration to sport leaders, administrators and the national community,” Lewis, also president of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, stated.

Lewis added the TTOC acknowledged the date today—the original date of the opening cere­mony of the Tokyo2020 Olympics—with mixed feelings as, were it not for Covid-19, Team TTO would have been preparing to take to the sporting challenges and its #10golds24 initiative in Japan.

“This symbolic observance is in support of our athletes who need encouragement and guidance now, more than ever. It is imperative that we put our athletes’ interest and welfare first; we must be there for them,” Lewis emphasised. “Additionally, we pour our encouragement out to all Olympic leaders and administrators to serve as inspiration and lights of positivity to our Olympic athletes and those who aspire to become Olympians.”

Lewis added that the saying “tough times don’t last, but tough people do” is particularly appropriate in these Covid-19-affected times and will reveal the fighting spirit of our athletes.

“We have to be tough with positivity and resilience in order to take full advantage of the opportunities that emerge out of this period of crisis,” he explained.

“Team TTO, #10Golds24, are the mottos to embrace, as these serve as elements of empowerment over Covid-19, as we surpass the challenges and obstacles of the present-day with the determination that soon, the Olympic Games will be here.”

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