Chinese long jumper, Shi Yuhao could not believe his luck when the Tokyo Olympics was postponed due to covid -19 pandemic. Shi injured his left ankle and went for surgery which took him six months of physio.
The 21-year-old expressed his relief after the Games were moved back to 2021 after struggling with his performance since returning from an injury at the start of the year.
“It could be a good thing for me because I need more time to adjust,” the 2018 Asian indoor champion said to China.org.
“Now, I need to focus on my new skills.”
Shi recorded a new personal best at the Shanghai Diamond League event in 2018, finishing in second with a jump of 8.43 metres behind South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga.
However, due to an ankle injury suffered at the competition, he missed the entire 2019 season and has since struggled to adapt to changes which includes changing his take-off leg to his right.
“I am still not used to it – after all I had been taking off with my left leg for a decade,” Shi said.
“My running speed is at 90 per cent of my previous best but the level of jumping related indexes is not good enough.
“I hope I can return to competition as soon as possible.
“Hopefully I will sing the song of victory in Tokyo.”
Shi is one of many top long jumpers in China, but faces competition from compatriots such as Jianan Wang who topped the national 2018 rankings and matched the national record of 8.47m.
Gao Xinglong is another who could be a threat as he has been a consistent competitor in recent years.
Shi finished sixth at the World Championships in London in 2017, and fifth at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2018