(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Lauren Smith: I am heartbroken, but this is bigger than any sport
Date: 3/25/2020 3:22 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Team GB’s Lauren Smith reacts to the news that she must put on hold her dream of representing her country in the women’s and mixed doubles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, yesterday announced that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021. 

Smith, who has been achieving terrific results recently and seemingly peaking at the right time gives her opinion on the announcement that has shaken up the sporting world.

-Over the last few days, there has been speculation. Since everything has started with the Coronavirus this has been on the cards. There were rumours before and today it has been confirmed. My gut reaction is that I am heartbroken. It is what I and all the other athletes have been aiming for since the qualification period started all those months ago. I put my heart and soul into trying to qualify, but I think at the end of the day, this virus and this situation are bigger than me as an individual, it is bigger than any sport. We are not the only event to have been postponed, which is an important thing to remember, as the Olympics has not been cancelled, yet. So, we can still hope that it will run. 

The Olympics can be something to bring people together
The Olympic spirit is a real and far-reaching power that touches and inspires millions of people around the world. Smith explains how she believes this special event can be a focal point for many after we recover from this tough period. 

-I have every faith that the IOC and Japan are doing everything they can to have the event go ahead. Hopefully, when all this is said and done and things in the world go back to normal, the Olympics can be something to bring people together and bring a bit of joy to peoples lives. I do think when the Olympics is on it bring out the best in nations and communities. People really get behind their country and it is a huge thing, so I think to try and run it in amongst all of this it would have been overshadowed. It might not have had the same audience, in which case what’s the point. 

There is no point speculating
Players in various sports have been left in limbo following the recent unfolding events. However, as is often the case in sport, it is the way an individual picks themselves up after receiving a big blow that builds champions. Smith speaks about how she feels about the future. 

-It is just keeping that motivation because going to the Olympics is what has driven me on the last few months in training. I am sure it is the same with many athletes who are disappointed that it is not going to be when we thought it was. In Badminton, there are still a lot of questions about what the qualifying is going to be. We are waiting on BWF to make a statement, but there is no point speculating and using all our energy on that at the moment. There is so much more we need to be doing. Being an Olympian and being an athlete it is really having to set aside a little bit for the reality of this virus and making sure that around the world we get everything under control. 

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