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Fingers crossed

Gymnast Francis remains upbeat on Olympic debut despite virus situation in Japan

Despite the growing concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan sparking some doubts around the Olympic Games, Jamaica’s gymnast Danusia Francis is maintaining a positive outlook as she continues preparation for her debut showing at the major international multi-sport event.

Francis, like a number of other athletes from around the world, will be keeping a close eye on the situation about the Games, while holding their collective breaths that the official verdict will remain that the show will go on.

The 2020 Games, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, is seemingly once again in danger of being sidelined, as more than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the Olympics to be cancelled, after Japan in its battle with a fourth wave of infections, recently expanded a state of emergency.

But with the Games scheduled for July 23 to August 8, now less than 10 weeks away, the British-born Francis, who is Jamaica’s second gymnast to qualify for the Olympics after Toni-Ann Williams’ appearance at the 2016 Games in Rio, says she is focusing her attention on the positives.

“Honestly, I feel a lot of excitement about participating at my first Olympic Games, not a day goes by where I don’t think about it. But it’s hard to avoid the posts in the media about it, but I just try my best not to read them or let it affect my preparation in any way,” Francis told the Jamaica Observer from her United Kingdom base.

However, the 27-year-old quickly admits that if the Games were suppose to somehow be cancelled, then it would extinguish her burning passion, being denied the big Olympic debut and, by extension, the chance of living a lifelong dream.

“I would be pretty devastated, if I’m honest because I have worked so hard and this is my dream. So it would be tough it was to be cancelled, but I’m just focusing on the things I can control, and will take it one day at a time,” she shared.

That aside, Francis, who was a reserve athlete for Great Britain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, pointed out that her preparations have been going well in recent times, as the restrictions imposed by the British Government which previously limited her ability to find competition, have now been eased.

In fact, the diminutive gymnast has her sights set on competing at the Spanish League next month.

“Everything is good so far. I can train with the rest of the girls at my club again now that the restrictions have changed, the atmosphere is really great and it is helping me get through my routines, so I am now looking forward to getting back on the competition floor,” said Francis, who will be Jamaica’s lone representative at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Prior to achieving the qualifying feat in 2019, Francis became the first Jamaican gymnast to compete in a gymnastics final at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

This summer in Tokyo, she intends to reach even greater heights, as she strives on the fact that she works hard to be the best that she can be and doesn’t compare herself to others.

“I feel pretty good, I probably just need a little bit more fitness for my floor routine, but my power has improved a lot,” she noted.

“The other three events are for the most part ready, so I am just perfecting the execution and getting in the reps. Like I said earlier, I am competing mid-June so this will also help me see any improvements that need to be made before July,” Francis ended.

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