These are powerful instances for skilled athletes 4 months out from an Olympic Games.

With warm-up and qualifying occasions postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the likes of two-time taekwondo Olympic medallist Lutalo Muhammad really feel they’re all coaching in limbo – even if they’re fortunate sufficient to nonetheless have the opportunity to prepare.

“Mentally it’s been very difficult these last few days,” he mentioned.

“I feel like the rug has been pulled from under me.

“It’s not simply me – I’m involved with a lot of athletes from plenty of totally different sports activities and lots of people really feel a bit misplaced proper now. To prepare with out an apparent objective you’re feeling such as you’re coaching in limbo.

“Things have been cancelled, you are undecided about rescheduling, it’s kind of unusual. I’ve ever skilled something like this.

“We’ve been training for four years – everything is geared up to the Olympics, there’s definitely a feeling of uncertainty but we have to trust that the IOC [International Olympic Committee] will make the best decision – let’s see.”

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The Olympic flag and the logo of Tokyo 2020 during the official flag ceremony in 2016
Image: The Olympics is supposed to be in Tokyo this 12 months however coronavirus would possibly put a cease to that

A bronze medallist in 2012 and a silver medallist in Rio, he’s British taekwondo’s most profitable ever male athlete, well-known for breaking down in tears after lacking out on the gold medal within the final second of the 2016 ultimate.

But 4 years of harm means he is not an computerized choice this time for the one heavyweight (87kg plus) spot on the staff. Instead it is between him and Mahama Cho.

Returning to successful methods earlier than Christmas with an enormous victory at the French Open, the 28-year-old wanted the warm-up occasions and the postponed European Championships to choose up factors, show himself to the selectors, and get competitors sharp.

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“I was upset. We were literally just preparing to go to the Belgium Open when we heard it was cancelled two days before.

“It’s undoubtedly an annoying feeling to do all that preparation and work, and to get myself again in a successful place however I believe it is clear now, it is a matter of life and demise and we are able to all see that sport can take a again seat.”

The athletes have been told by the sports governing body, like everyone else, that they need to wash their hands frequently and be mindful of personal hygiene.

“As skilled athletes we now have to be additional cautious with this type of factor, a possible sickness this shut to the Games may utterly sideline your preparation anyway”, the IOC recommendation states.

Lutalo Muhammad (R) of Great Britain competes against Cheick Sallah Cisse of Cote d'Ivoire in the Men's Taekwondo -80kg Gold Medal Contest on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 3 on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Image: Muhammad in motion in opposition to Cheick Sallah Cisse of Cote d’Ivoire in 2016

Muhammad suspects the Olympics will have to be pushed again despite the fact that the IOC has mentioned the Games will go ahead as deliberate and on Thursday Tokyo 2020 organisers obtained the Olympic flame in a ceremony at Athens Panathenaic stadium.

But many athletes cannot prepare or compete as they usually would in an Olympic build-up interval, that means most would go to the Games under-prepared.

Gold medal favourites such as heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who relies in France, mentioned on social media: “The information of the IOC and local government are at odds with one another.

“The IOC recommendation ‘encourages athletes to proceed to put together for the Olympic Games as greatest they’ll’, however authorities laws is implementing isolation at house, with tracks, gyms and public areas closed.”

Even so, Muhammad can’t bear the thought that the Games could be cancelled.

Image: Most of the world’s international locations compete within the Olympics, making it the sporting occasion of the 12 months

“It would be a major disappointment. How many thousands of athletes have prepared for this for four years, you say four years but really it’s a lifetime of training,” he mentioned.

“We’ve had these dreams and aspirations since we were little boys and girls to go to the Olympics and represent our country and hopefully win a medal. With just a couple of months to go, if it were to get cancelled it would be devastating.”

He is among the fortunate ones: GB Taekwondo in Manchester stays open, permitting athletes to at least stick with it coaching for an Olympics that will, or could not, occur.