Athletes' Anger over Tokyo Games Must Not Go Unchecked

Cape Times (South Africa), April 9, 2020 | Go to article overview

Athletes' Anger over Tokyo Games Must Not Go Unchecked


Dr Marteleze van Graan, a leading South African sport psychologist, has warned that anger and a sense of loss following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics must not go unchecked.

Even before it was officially announced that the Games would be moved from 2020 to 2021, athletes had to contend with lengthy periods of uncertainty. These three factors could prove detrimental if allowed to run rampant in the minds of athletes.

"Athletes who were preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games or any other major sports event might experience a sense of loss," said Van Graan.

"It may feel as if they have sacrificed hours and hours of training for nothing. Some might even experience anger. Feeling down and out for a day is normal. Every one of us is going to go through a bad patch in these uncertain times, but we need to resist letting it get the better of us."

There will always be the danger that athletes might lose focus or give up on their dreams if they don't deal with negativity.

"No athlete should give up on their dreams. They should, however, adapt their goals. Don't think about winning a tournament or a gold medal. It is more important to set one specific goal for each day. Achieving that goal creates a sense of achievement even when not on the track or the court," Van Graan said.

"It might also be worthwhile to think about some of the psychological aspects of sports. For example, the fear of failure during a significant competition. …

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