The Road to Tokyo: A week in quotes

Gold medallist Rikako Ikee of Japan celebrate during the victory ceremony for the women's 100m butterfly swimming event at the 2018 Asian Games (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Gold medallist Rikako Ikee of Japan celebrate during the victory ceremony for the women's 100m butterfly swimming event at the 2018 Asian Games (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes around the world have been busily preparing themselves with less than 120 days until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 has been speaking to several athletes whose journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Games is gathering pace.

IKEE Rikako makes Japan's 4x100m relay team for Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021

Rikako Ikee of Japan celebrates winning the Women's 100m Butterfly Final at the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Rikako Ikee of Japan celebrates winning the Women's 100m Butterfly Final at the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
2018 Getty Images

So no matter how un-confident or tough or difficult things are, if you work hard you get rewarded.

Two years ago, Japan's IKEE Rikako was diagnosed with leukemia but last weekend she swam a Games qualifying time for the 4x100m medley relay team after winning the 100m butterfly at the Japan swimming trials. The victory marked seven months since her return to competition, and while she was originally aiming for Paris 2024, the Japanese swimmer will now have the chance to compete at a home Olympic Games this summer.

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Farah Ann Abdul Hadi: Setting the stage for future gymnasts

Farah Ann Abdul Hadi will make her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 after qualifying in the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany
Farah Ann Abdul Hadi will make her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 after qualifying in the 2019 Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany
Courtesy of Kubrina Kass

I'm just very grateful and very, very thankful to be that first gymnast [to qualify], but I hope that I’m not the last.

Malaysia will finally be represented in artistic gymnastic event at this year's Olympic Games after 17 years of waiting thanks to Farah Ann Abdul Hadi, one of the nation's top sporting stars. Abdul Hadi, who qualified for Tokyo 2020 during the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship, hopes that her appearance at the Olympic Games will inspire future generations of girls in Malaysia to take up the sport and reach their Olympic dreams.

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TSUCHIDA Wakako is expanding her possibilities

Wakako Tsuchida of Japan competes in the Women's Marathon T54 final during the 2011 IPC Athletics Championships (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Wakako Tsuchida of Japan competes in the Women's Marathon T54 final during the 2011 IPC Athletics Championships (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
2011 Getty Images

There were times when I thought it’s time that I retire from competition.

But as long as there is a goal I want to pursue, and if I still feel there are other possibilities for me, I think I should continue.

TSUCHIDA Wakako is a dual winter and summer Paralympian who has also competed at seven Paralympic Games, winning three golds, three silvers and a bronze. She's done it all. But with Tokyo 2020 in her sights, the Japanese athlete is taking on a new challenge: to compete in the marathon. She is also hoping to secure a place in the triathlon event.

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Grant Holloway: Leaving it all on the track 

Grant Holloway of the United States celebrates winning the Men's 110m hurdles final during the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Grant Holloway of the United States celebrates winning the Men's 110m hurdles final during the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

I think the biggest thing is just envisioning and knowing that when the time comes, you're going to prevail.

After setting a new indoor 60m hurdles world record in a February meet in Madrid, the 110m hurdles world champion is keeping a positive mindset in the build-up to Tokyo 2020.

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Lydia Valentin: It's not a question of gender but of talent

Lydia Valentin Perez of Spain competes in the Women's 75kg Weightlifting Final at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Lydia Valentin Perez of Spain competes in the Women's 75kg Weightlifting Final at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
2012 Getty Images

I believe sport is sport. Period.

With three Olympic medals and many more outstanding victories under her belt, Spain’s Lydia Valentin has proved that weightlifting is not a matter of gender.

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Kaleo Kanahele Maclay: Be the bar

Sitting volleyball player Kaleo Kanahele Maclay poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on November 20, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sitting volleyball player Kaleo Kanahele Maclay poses for a portrait during the Team USA Tokyo 2020 Olympics shoot on November 20, 2019 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

The rivalry has shifted for us since the Rio Games, we’ve gained the perspective that our biggest rivalry is with ourselves — meaning we have worn the title of no.1 in the world with honour.

We want to be the team to beat, and the only way we stay that way is if we are the bar to beat.

USA sitting volleyball star Kaleo Kanahele Maclay was just 16-years-old at her first Paralympic Games in London. Considered to be one of the best setters in the world, says that the United States are not only aiming to defend their title but to confirm their status as the world’s best at Tokyo 2020.

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OHASHI Yui: Two major setbacks have made me stronger

Yui Ohashi of Japan celebrates silver in the Women's 200m Individual Medley Final during the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships (Photo by Clive Rose / Getty Images)
Yui Ohashi of Japan celebrates silver in the Women's 200m Individual Medley Final during the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships (Photo by Clive Rose / Getty Images)
2017 Getty Images

 I realised once again that choosing the race that matters to me and focusing on swimming that race would produce good results.

Japanese swimmer Ohashi Yui 's resilience helped her overcome setbacks in her career and her health. Not only was she able to break the national record for the 400m individual medley which still stands today, she also qualified for Tokyo 2020 in both 200m and 400m individual medley.

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Abby Dahlkemper: Team USA's ever-evolving defensive dynamo

Valerie Gauvin of France is challenged by Abby Dahlkemper of the USA during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France quarter-Final match against France (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Valerie Gauvin of France is challenged by Abby Dahlkemper of the USA during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France quarter-Final match against France (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
2019 Getty Images

During times of change and adversity, I think you grow a lot as a person.

Abby Dahlkemper, who has become a key member of the United States women's football team, spoke to Tokyo 2020 about her move to to England's FA WSL and her high hopes of playing at her first Olympic Games this summer in Japan.

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