Tokyo Olympics: Beth Dobbin hoping worst is over after Covid flight scare

Beth Dobbin admits the tension has been dialled up after six of her Olympic team-mates were forced into lockdown at the British team’s base in Yokohama on Sunday due to a Covid scare.

Japanese health protocols, enforced when a passenger on their flight tested positive, meant that the group were permitted to train in isolation on Monday following multiple negative test results.

Just three new Games-related virus cases were reported inside 24 hours following the first two from within the Athletes Village in Tokyo last weekend.

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But the Scottish 200 metres record holder concedes a first close encounter with the tough procedures designed to lower the chances of an outbreak brought the tough road ahead into focus.

Beth Dobbin is the Scottish record holder at 200 metres. Picture: Karl Bridgeman/Getty Images for British Olympic Association
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Dobbin said: “I feel really sorry for the athletes. There is always that risk. I do feel like we've come through the riskiest part because that's always going to be the flight because that's where we were with 'normal' people.

“Now we're here in the bubble, we're literally not even allowed to leave the hotel except to go to the track. We're always wearing masks. So I'd be very, very surprised if any of us came into contact with someone at this point. I do feel like we're past the riskiest point.

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“It is worrying, it is stressful, but there is no point stressing about it because you can't change it. But I think we've come through the worst of it. We're literally keeping ourselves to ourselves.

“It has been so distressing for the athletes. If I was one of the athletes this had happened to, I would be really distressed.”

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The large signs at the Team GB training camp at Keio University offer their own version of ‘Hands, Face, Space’ with the headline warning to everyone inside the bubble that ‘Your actions affect all our success.’

It underlines the fear of every Olympian that five years of blood, sweat and tears since Rio's Games could evaporate in the ping of a mobile phone and a hotel quarantine that turns their greatest hour into a 14-day nightmare.

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The hope, says Dobbin, is that the extreme measures put in place will see her safely through to the finish without any hurdles. The 200m may see her pitted against world champion Dina Asher-Smith, who will then become her colleague in the 4x100 relay. “Dina is lovely,” she declares. “And we all get on so well.”

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The Abnormal Olympic are still doubling as a childhood dream fulfilled. When Dobbin was growing up in Doncaster, where her footballing father Jim settled following his departure from Celtic, she thought hot days in Tokyo were beyond her reach when childhood epilepsy struck.

Covid, and everything it brings, seems simple by comparison. There can still be fun at these Games, she expects.

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“I'm not expecting myself to become an Olympic champion,” said Dobbin. “I'm quite obviously realistic in those terms. Running well here would be an amazing achievement.

“I’m not one of these athletes, that's too hard on myself, because I do know it's not been easy. I was probably never supposed to become an Olympian.

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“I didn't show these signs as a junior. So everything that happens now is a bonus. And I just really want to make the most of this opportunity because not many people get it.”