Team Ireland athletes send message of solidarity to people of Tokyo

A collection of athletes who will be, or are hoping to, represent Team Ireland at the Olympic Games...

Team Ireland athletes send mes...

Team Ireland athletes send message of solidarity to people of Tokyo

A collection of athletes who will be, or are hoping to, represent Team Ireland at the Olympic Games have sent messages of solidarity to the people of Tokyo.

Earlier this week, the International Olympic Committee announced the rescheduled dates for Tokyo 2020 after they were forced to postpone the event for this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Team Ireland Chef De Mission for the Tokyo Games, Tricia Heberle, led the messages of support for the Japanese captial and the city where Team Ireland's training camp is due to take place.

"To our friends in Tokyo and Fukuroi," says Heberle. "It may take a little longer but Tokyo, when you're ready, we're ready. Konnichi wa."

After the Games were rescheduled, Heberle threw the gauntlet down to the Team Ireland athletes by highlighting the fact that there is an extended lead-in time, which means more time to improve.

That sentiment is echoed by the athletes themselves including Greg O'Shea who will be hoping he can qualify for Tokyo 2020 along with the Irish Rugby 7s team.

"We may have to wait another year but that doesn't mean the dream is over," says O'Shea.

"Another year to get better, faster and stronger. So Tokyo, when you're ready the Irish Rugby 7s team will be ready to give qualification our best shot."

Triathlete Russell White adds: "It's a big challenge ahead but I think we'll overcome it and I think on the other side we'll be better and stronger for it.

"As athletes we also now have another year to be stronger, fitter, faster and we'll be ready. When Tokyo is ready, we will be too."

One of Team Ireland's stars at Rio 2016, Annalise Murphy, will be hoping she can add to her Laser Radial event silver medal.

"I think this the best decision for the entire world," says Murphy. "It means that everyone can stay safe for the next little while and we'll all be ready for an uplifting games in 2021."

Rhys McCleneghan is setting his sights high after he became the first Irish gymnast to win World and European medals in the last two years.

"The date has changed but the vision stays the same. Tokyo 2022, we're coming for that top spot. We're ready!" says the Down native.

There will be a strong equestrian squad representing Team Ireland in Tokyo including Rio Olympian Judy Reynolds.

"They may have changed the date but the game hasn't changed," Reynolds says. "Tokyo, when you're ready for us, we'll be more than ready for you!"

Team Ireland sprinter and Irish record breaker Phil Healy will be hoping to build on her fourth place in the 200m at the 2018 European Championships.

"The date may have changed but the goal stays the same," says the Corkwoman. "This gives us another window of opportunity to work on our goals.

"To get fitter, to get stronger, to get faster and make 2021 even better. Tokyo, we are ready when you are ready."

You can check out more videos from the Team Ireland athletes by clicking here.

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Annalise Murphy Greg O'Shea Judy Reynolds Olympic Games Phil Healy Rhys McClenaghan Russell White Team Ireland Tokyo 2020 Tricia Heberle

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