Doncaster sprinter frustrated but not disheartened by Olympics delay

A Doncaster athlete who dreamed of competing in this year's Olympic Games says she is frustrated at the postponement - but not disheartened.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 2:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 10:26 am

Sprinter Beth Dobbin was fine tuning for her event in Tokyo, when lockdown was announced.

The 25-year-old says she has been frustrated by the delay, but appreciates there are much bigger things going on in the world, which stop her complaining.

Beth has dreamed about racing the 200m in the Olympics since she was a child and, along with athletes across the world, faced an anxious wait to discover the fate of the prestigious competition.

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Beth Dobbins, second from left, competing in the Great North Run 2019, alongside Allyson Felix , Ashleigh Nelson and Jaide Stepter

There was huge relief when it was announced by World Athletics, the International Olympic Committee and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that - rather than being cancelled - the games would be postponed until next year.

Beth said: “This is affecting everyone, people are losing their lives, family and livelihoods. This is something we’ll talk to our grandkids about.

“I've wanted to be an Olympian since the age of 10 - I can wait one more year.”

However, she said training during lockdown has been frustrating.

Beth Dobbins with fellow runners Ashiiegh Nelson and Jaide Stepter at the Great North Run 2019

She has been forced to train on grass, as she no longer has access to a running track, which comes with its own risks, such as divots, holes and waterlogged patches which could easily lead to injury.

And, as well as the new risks involved, Beth can no longer see her physiotherapist due to social distancing – they had previously worked together twice a week.

Beth said: “Athletes train to such a high intensity, physiotherapy is crucial.

“Luckily, before social isolation came in, my dad and brother built me a gym, so I can work on my strength and conditioning and the explosive side of my event."

Beth Dobbins is interviewed at the Great North Run 2019

Normally, Beth trains in a group of 10-plus people with her coach, but this now curtailed due to lockdown.

Instead they have started a conference group, so they can all keep in touch and share information on how they are all coping.

Despite her Olympic dream being on hold, at least for a year, Beth is still targeting a major event this year and is aiming to compete at the European Athletics Championships in Paris in August.