Fife Paralympian Derek Rae says the show must go on after Olympics are rescheduled

Fife Paralympian Derek Rae says the delay to this year’s Tokyo Games could work to his advantage.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 10:02 am
Derek Rae in training.

The Paralympics were supposed to get underway in Japan on August 24 but have been delayed until next year because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Games now take place from August 24 to September 5 2021, following on from the Olympic Games which will run from July 23 to August 8.

Rae, from Kirkcaldy, says the later date will help him get into peak condition as he aims to qualify for the marathon event.

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“It was news I was expecting,” he said, “like many other athletes who are in my position preparation is key, certainly for the Paralympics and the conditions that were proposed for Japan.

“There was a lot of stress with regards to how athletes could prepare and could maybe go out there unprepared.

“I’ve been to a games unprepared and I know how it can go wrong quite badly, so that was my worry. How I was going to prepare, the way I was wanting to prepare, so I think it was the best decision.

“Not just for the athletes, but for the volunteers, the marshalls, the officials, the families, everybody connected with the games.

“For me I think it’s a good thing. It allows us to mirror the preparations we were going to do for this year.

“It’s quite handy for us. It means everything we had planned will go ahead, it will just be a year later.

For Rae there is unfinished business to attend to after he failed to cross the finish line in the same event at the Games in Rio in 2016 and is determined to “right that wrong”.

He said: “If anything it’s a driving force behind my preparations. It means that myself and my support team will have everything nailed down to a T. If you can control the controllables it’s down to how you perform on the day.

“I know what it’s like to go through that emotion, it was a big psychological setback back then, but I firmly believe I’m a stronger person for it.

“Sometimes the best lessons in life are learned the hard way.”

For the time being Rae will continue with his training which he says is going head despite the lockdown.

“I’m still training fully. I think if anything at the moment I’ve reduced my intensity. I’ll allow my body to recover and make the most of this down time while I can.

“My training groups in St Andrews and my gym sessions in Dundee have been cancelled but I’m doing strength and conditioning in my living room and sessions on Kirkcaldy Prom.

“If there’s a will there’s a way and I have to be adaptive. I think a lot of athletes will come out of the back of this realising that they are more adaptive than they may have thought.

“Sometimes a forced change like this is good because you can build up strength of character. I believe a lot of positives can come from negatives, you have to look at it the right way.”

He added: “The show must go on and the show has just been delayed, that’s all.”