With fewer races to take part in, and one more year to wait, Chinese sprinter Xie Zhenye is committed to staying patient and focused as he chases his Olympic dream.

No matter what the future holds, Xie’s expectation for the Tokyo Games remains the same-to become the first Chinese national to reach a hat-trick of sprint finals, in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events.

“With the postponement of the Olympic Games, I need to be more patient and focused and make good use of this additional year to get better prepared for the Games,” said the 27-year-old, who is currently training at Beijing Sport University.

Xie trained with his national teammates in the United States for four months during the winter. According to his original plan, he was due to take part in a series of outdoor races in Europe and the US to tune up for the Tokyo Games. That was until the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.

Xie flew to China’s coastal city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, at the end of March, and after a 28-day quarantine, returned to Beijing to start his lockdown training session.

“Although most of the competitions have been canceled or postponed, I can still compete in some virtual events and testing events organized by the national team,” Xie said.

“I am working closely with my coach and sticking to our new preparation plan. Our aim is to maintain my good form until the Tokyo Games next year.”

Xie enjoyed a successful season in 2019, becoming the first Chinese to dip under the 20-second mark in the 200m by clocking an Asian-record 19.88 at the Diamond League London meet. The time shaved 0.09 seconds off Qatari Femi Ogunode’s previous continental record.

Later, at the world championships in Doha, the 2010 Youth Olympic champion became the first Chinese to reach the men’s 200m final.

Xie has already met the Olympic entry standard for the 100m and 200m in Tokyo, while the Chinese relay team has also booked a berth in the 4x100m. Now, Xie wants to make more history by reaching the finals of all three events in the Japanese capital next summer.

“This is my goal and I have the confidence to pursue that. I will try my best and leave no regrets in Tokyo,” he said.


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