Paralympics delay no problem for Dame Sarah Storey


She hopes her children will remember the experience all the more.

Dame Sarah Storey insists she has no problem waiting another year in her bid to become Britain’s most successful ever Paralympian.

With the postponement of Tokyo 2020 by 12 months due to the coronavirus outbreak, Storey must wait for her chance to go to an eighth Games and seek the three gold medals she needs to overhaul swimmer Mike Kenny’s British record of 16.

Storey, whose own medal collection is split across cycling and swimming, said the delay was the only option given the current health crisis.

Swimming – Seoul Paralympics 1988 – Mike Kenny – Aylesbury
Mike Kenny claimed 16 Paralympic gold medals in the pool for Great Britain (Mike Stephens/PA)

“I don’t think you’ll find an athlete in the world who disagrees with the decision to delay the Games,” Storey said. “Everyone’s immediate focus is rightly on health, wellbeing and supporting everyone who is working so hard on the frontline to protect and save lives.

“Of course, it means that we have to reset and revise things slightly, but it was completely the right decision, and the fact that they’ve acted so swiftly in rearranging the Games is good news for everyone, as we now have a definite timeframe to work towards again.

“The focus hasn’t changed – you put the hard yards in to give yourself every chance of being the very best you can be on the day of competition. Even if that day is now 12 months later, I’m still every bit as focused on that target.”

And the mum-of-two is looking on the bright side as she looks forward to having Louisa and Charlie in the crowd along with their dad Barney.

“One of the positive things I’m taking from the delay to the Games is that Louisa and Charlie will both be a year older, and be able to take more of the experience in,” the 42-year-old added.

“Louisa came to the Rio Games as a three-year-old, so will be able to remember bits of that, but by the time Tokyo comes around now she will be eight and Charlie about to turn four, so it will hopefully be something which they can both really enjoy.

“The year 2021 is also going to be the 30th anniversary of the start of my international sporting career, so there’s a nice symmetry to that as well.”