Tokyo 2020: Dai Greene qualifier hopes to get “leaner” due to travel restrictions

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BBC Sport – Olympics
Dai Greene won gold over 400m hurdles at the 2011 World Championships

Former 400m hurdles world champion Dai Greene says his hopes for qualifying for Tokyo 2020 are getting “leaner” every day as he cannot come to competitions due to travel restrictions.

The Welshman said he had “a general feeling of helplessness” as the chances of a race “are very few and far between”.

The delayed Olympic Games begin on July 23.

Greene, 35, added that it was a little “hollow” for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organizers in Japan to continue the Games.

Greene had to sit out in France and Switzerland in recent weeks due to self-isolation obligations, and one in Sweden because he could not get a PCR test in time.

That means his last two chances of reaching the qualifying standard for Tokyo will be in Denmark next week and at the British Championships later this month.

“It is very few and far between in terms of competitions,” he told BBC Sport.

“Right now it’s very difficult for athletes to get the level of competition they need to experience faster races, better environments and faster tracks in order to meet the tougher qualifying times that are currently being imposed on us.

“In the next three weeks I have to run as fast as the athletes to reach the 2019 World Cup final. It is a very difficult task and I am not the only one in this situation.

“If I’m completely honest, my chances are getting smaller and smaller.”

Greene said the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be his last. He has been involved in athletics for 16 years and won world gold in Daegu in 2011.

But his preparations were so complex that he says it was the most stressful month of his career.

“There’s a general feeling of helplessness that I don’t even get the chance to play a full season or test the standards,” he said.

“It is a really frustrating time for athletes and we are running out of time. There is no national competition to make up for the loss of access to others.”

“That’s pretty much all we talk about now as athletes.”

There are now less than 50 days until Tokyo 2020. Earlier this week, Seiko Hashimoto, president of the organizing committee, told the BBC that the games were 100% happening.

Japan is currently experiencing a fourth wave of coronavirus, but Hashimoto said she was confident that stricter measures could not be taken to keep the event safe and secure.

However, Greene is not convinced that the games are happening for the right reasons.

“I feel like putting it on this year compared to previous games is a little hollow,” he said.

“It’s more about the cause than a celebration of the sport.”

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