Gymnast Danusia Francis buoyant despite injury setbackSaturday, July 24, 2021
BY IAN BURNETT
Jamaican gymnast Danusia Francis remains in high spirits despite an injury setback which has forced her to significantly curtail her routine at the 2020 Tokyo Games here in a few days.
The British-born artistic gymnast suffered a knee injury which will render her incapable of performing in two of the three all-around events. As she puts it, she will be able to compete on the bars only, and not the floor and beams.
“Despite the setback I am only too proud to represent Jamaica,” Francis told the media here on Friday night, as she watched the opening ceremony from the comfort of the Athletes' Village.
She was in very high spirits as she added that she was unable to give specifics regarding the nature of the injury at that time, though reports have circulated that it could well be a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). She said she had not yet received any official medical report up to that point in time, and questions to a member of the medical staff went unanswered.
And it is understood that Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion Aisha Praught-Leer remains optimistic of competing in the 1,500m despite suffering a serious injury during training earlier this week.
Praught-Leer posted on social media that she tore the meniscus in her left knee and had been advised to seek surgery as soon as possible, but she plans to take to the track when her event is called on August 1.
Already Carey McLeod has been stricken by COVID-19 and was forced to abandon his travel to the Asian country and will more than likely miss the men's long and triple jump events.
There has been no official statement from team officials regarding Praught-Leer or McLeod.
Meanwhile, a number of athletes arrived in Tokyo on Friday to empty streets primarily due to the day being observed as National Sports Day to mark the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games Opening ceremony and the 57th anniversary of the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
But there are concerns that the athletes will be set back by two days as the training facility is not opened to them.
And Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and boxer Ricardo “Big12” Brown carried the Jamaican flag as athletes paraded into a relatively empty Olympic Stadium during the low-key opening ceremony.
Like none before in the history of the modern Games, the opening ceremony, delayed a year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, included 206 countries with greatly reduced numbers in front of an empty venue save for a few hundred VIPs and dignitaries including French President Emmanuel Macron, US First Lady Jill Biden, and Japan's Emperor Naruhito, who declared the Games open.
The 2020 Olympics will be conducted without foreign spectators and limited domestic spectators at a few venues, and it has been unpopular, according to many polls in recent times. Many Japanese would still prefer a further postponement or cancellation, and outside of the Olympic Stadium yesterday there were a handful of protestors.
But preparations have gone beyond recall and if the fireworks which lit up the Tokyo night sky is anything to go by, then the world will be in for a grand time over the next two weeks as athletes try to bring hope in a time of desperation for many.
And though they were mandated to wear masks into the Olympic Stadium on Friday night, their competitive spirits will not be bridled when competition reaches fever pitch over the next few days.
The night was brought to an end when Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron atop a peak inspired by Mount Fuji.
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