Nairobi, Apr 17 : Olympian Sally Kipyego said pushing back the Tokyo Games by a year offered her another chance to live again and do everything to be in right shape to contest for the gold medal in women's marathon.
Kipyego, who competed for Kenya at the Rio Olympics, has since switched to the United States after getting her citizenship in 2017, having lived abroad for 15 years.
However, she has returned home to train in Iten after the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February. Kipyego arrived in Kenya with her family to polish her skills and improve her endurance training.
"I can't even believe how the world has changed in the last few months. Yes, we are runners and we are Olympians and everyone is talking about the Olympics being postponed and all that. But [it's not so important] in the grand scheme of things," Kipyego told reporters on Thursday in Iten.
The 34-year-old said canceling the Olympics would have drained the athletes and wasted their efforts in training. She is however warming up to the idea of running the Tokyo Games a year later.
"I liked it more because they didn't cancel it all together. They gave us another chance to chase the dream next year. I was really pleased with that. I was relieved more than anything," she said.
Kipyego thought the world will be more receptive and open to host sports starting in September and believed she may take advantage of the situation and compete one or two races before heading to the Tokyo Olympics.
"I think marathons will happen late in 2020. Right now, I'm going to try to get a little bit quicker. Even though I'm not racing, I'm going to try to spend a little more time and work on those weaknesses and things I have neglected the last few years. Speed is one of them," she added.
"But generally, I'm planning on doing maybe a marathon if that is possible later in 2020. If not, then a marathon early in 2021. It depends."
Kipyego, like most athletes around the world, was observing the social distancing practices to help curb spread of coronavirus. But she hoped to continue training to remain active and fit in the event a vaccine is found, she would take the shortest time to be back at the peak.
"I am doing easy running, just some light strides and fartleks," she said.
"Because of what is happening in the world right now, you are kind of pacing yourself, obviously. I'm trying to get conditioned. Just get strong and make sure that I'm in a good place if there was an announcement that we've got a vaccine and we should go back in a month - I should be able to do a few workouts and be fine," she added.(XINHUA)