Amy Hunt in fast lane to top and confident Olympic delay won’t slow her progress

Amy Hunt, the teen sensation of British sprinting, has gone from chasing her Olympic dream to being pursued by dogs in a park.

The coronavirus arrived in the UK just as the 17-year old powered to 60 metres gold at her first senior British Championships.

She should now have been stepping up her preparations for Tokyo whilst cramming for A levels and wondering how on earth she would find a moment to celebrate her 18th next Friday.

Instead, the Olympics have been postponed, her exams cancelled and Hunt has all the time in the world to plan a ‘virtual’ celebration with friends and family.

You might think the Newark starlet would be tearing her hair out at the missed opportunities. You’d be wrong.

“We all have our goals in mind, we all aspire to reach Tokyo and I am training to one day become an Olympic champion,” she said.

“For the time being that means doing reps in the park and being chased by dogs. But having an extra year gives me more chance to learn, to build my strength and to grow as a person. That will be so beneficial when it comes to next year.”

Hunt is already the fastest under-18 female of all time over 200 metres, courtesy of the 22.42 seconds she clocked last summer, a time which would have won bronze behind Dina Asher-Smith at last autumn’s World Championships in Doha.

Having Usain Bolt hold the men’s version of that record only increases the hype around her going on to achieve extraordinary things.

Which is another reason she is content for the Tokyo Games to be pushed back 12 months.

“It’s important to have a reset,” she said. “As much as you can derive motivation and a sense of positivity from reflecting on what you’ve already done, you need to let go of it to an extent.

“You’re only as good as your last race so it’s vital to keep looking forward and focus on the future rather than on what you’ve already done.”

It would of course be foolish to place Bolt-like expectations on Hunt, but she makes no secret of her ambition to reach the top.

“The Paris Olympics will be a slightly better opportunity for me because I will be older and will have finished university and hopefully be a full-time athlete by then,” she said.

“But I’m fairly serious about being competitive going into Tokyo. I have my qualifying time already so I know I have the potential to go.

“And looking at last year’s rankings I’m not going there just to make up the numbers and finish last in my heat.

“I’m quite a competitive person. I want to achieve the highest level of success that I can at any given moment.”

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Olympic chief warns Games will be "scrapped" if they can’t take place next year

The boss of the Tokyo Olympics says the Games will be “scrapped” if they cannot take place next summer.

Yoshiro Mori was responding to doubts expressed by health experts over whether the Olympics could go ahead without a vaccine or effective drugs to treat Covid-19 .

The Tokyo 2020 president insisted there would be no further delay if circumstances prevented the Games, which were due to be held this summer, from going ahead in July 2021.

“In that situation, it will be cancelled,” Mori said. “In the past, when there were such problems, like wartime, it has been cancelled. This time, we are fighting an invisible enemy. This is a gamble for mankind.”

Medical chiefs in Japan are close to agreeing that the fate of the Games hinges on finding a vaccine.

Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said the Olympics would be possible only if the infections are under control – not just in Japan, but globally.

Kentaro Iwata, professor of infectious disease at Kobe University, added that he was “very pessimistic” the Games could go ahead unless “in a totally different structure such as no audience, or a very limited participation”.

Meanwhile a £400,000 fund has been established to support professional athletes experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic.

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Athletics and rugby union must use shutdown to take stock and come back stronger

Sebastian Coe and Rugby Football Union boss Bill Sweeney insist their sports must use the coronavirus shutdown to take stock and come back stronger.

Lord Coe, president of World Athletics, has demanded that track and field reviews what it is doing in the time made available by the postponement of the Olympics and much of the Diamond League.

“This is an opportunity to not just tweak at the edges but to really make some changes,” he said. “To figure out all the things we can do different.

“To make sure we do everything to come out of this stronger than we went in and to ensure the sport becomes more emotionally connected and engages more fans.”

Athletics’ popularity has taken a nosedive since the retirement of Usain Bolt three years ago. Last autumn’s world championships in Doha played out in front of sparse crowds.

“In what are otherwise such grim times, let’s think for a bit,” Coe added. “Let’s not just go back to doing the same things we’ve always done.”

His battle cry was echoed by Sweeney, former chief executive of the British Olympic Association, whose Union is braced for revenue losses of £50 million.

Rugby was in a financially parlous state before this global health emergency. It is now on its knees.

Sweeney says the pandemic has highlighted the "fault lines" within the game but believes that out of desperate times has come a consensus not seen before.

"Everyone knows where the issues and problems lie, but we haven't had a degree of co-operation and collaboration previously to be able to solve that,” he told BBC Sport. “I think that is changing.

"We are looking at things now in terms of all bets are off and a blank sheet of paper.

"How do we work together so we come out of this with a much stronger international game, a more rationalised calendar that makes more sense to the fans and makes more sense to the commercial partners?

“How do we come out of it so everyone can benefit? I really do believe that out of this you will see a different structure and a different shape.”

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World Athletics Championships to be ‘centrepiece’ of busy 2022 summer with Commonwealths and Europeans

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe is confident of delivering three major championships in the summer of 2022, with the Commonwealth Games, the European Athletics Championships and the World Athletics Championships all set to go ahead in the space of just six weeks.

The World Athletics Championships, which will be hosted by the city of Eugene in Oregon, USA, were originally scheduled for 6-15 August 2021. However, that now clashes with the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which have been pushed back 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic and will now run from 23 July to 8 August 2021.

It means the Worlds are set to be postponed by 12 months too, and will have to jostle for space in a crowded window with the 2022 Commonwealths set to begin on 27 July in Birmingham, and the 2022 European Championships set to start two weeks later on the 11 August in Munich.

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Coe said the World Championships would be the “centrepiece” of a busy summer, and although he is in complicated talks with organisers and broadcasters to find a suitable compromise, he insisted other major events would not be entirely sacrificed to make way for the Worlds.

“It’s everybody’s proposition that we have all three championships,” Coe said. “Ideally, scheduled to help each and every one of us, they will be in the summer of 2022. The fact that we’re trying to navigate our way through what is not much more than about six weeks to do all that is clearly challenging.

“I do have a responsibility for the global footprint of the sport. All three [events] are probably going to have to give a bit, and they’re probably going to take a bit. Ultimately, the number one objective is ‘how do we do this for the athletes?’

“I’m having conversations by the day, by the hour sometimes, with all those groups, including our partners in Oregon ’21. If I can avoid it, I don’t want to damage two really important championships in our landscape. The World Championships will be centrepiece of 2022, but I also want to reflect that Europe is in large part still the bedrock of the global sport. It’s where most American athletes tend to be decamping to, from about May onwards, and the Commonwealth Games covers 70-plus of my member federations as well.”

The only major athletics nation eligible for all three championships is Great Britain, albeit athletes compete under the flags of either England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland at the Commonwealth Games. In a potentially packed summer, British stars like sprinter Dina Asher-Smith would face a difficult decision over which competitions to prioritise, and would likely forgo one or more in order to avoid injury, but Coe insisted a “treble” was possible.

“I do want the treble to be on,” Coe said. “I’m not going to speculate on any further discussions because they are ongoing. I really do want to try and make this work, but there will inevitably be some compromises along the road.”

The upcoming 2020 European Championships in Paris remain scheduled for 25-30 August. The European Athletics Council will next meet via video conference on 7 May, when contingency plans will be discussed.

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