Theodora Gkountoura is from Greece. She participated at the 2019 World Fencing Championships, winning an individual bronze medal.
PBT: What were your first feelings about postponement of the Tokyo Olympics Games? What were your first feelings about this?
The moment I heard about the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games I felt like someone had just kicked me in the stomach. It was a very unpleasant feeling, a mixture of sadness, disappointment and anger for my lifelong dreams that will have to wait one more year. Of course, I strongly believe that postponing the Olympic Games is the right decision for all of us, as the protection of the health of all athletes and everyone who is involved with or wishes to attend the Olympic Games is, self understandably, of paramount importance.
PBT: How does this affect on your preparation?
Obviously, the postponement of the Olympic Games has affected my preparation. I was in the final stage before reaching my goal, as there was only one tournament in Belgium that would be decisive for the Olympic qualification, and I was training really intensively for that. The quarantine is a really challenging situation, because even the training hall, where my routine training takes place, has been closed for safety reasons. Fencing is a sport than requires specific facilities to train and other athletes to compete with. No matter how much I manage to train at home alone or with my coach, my efforts cannot possibly replace the proper training that usually takes place at the fencing hall. However, I do my best to strictly follow the guidelines of my coach, who takes care of keeping me as fit as possible.
PBT: What is your daily training routine in this situation?
My daily training routine is separated in three parts. Firstly, I start my day running in my neighborhood for thirty minutes. In the evening, I take fencing lessons with my coach in a private place and then I follow a stretching routine with some exercises for flexibility and muscle strength. Also, me and my coach regularly analyze theory of fencing, by discussing about technique and strategy!
PBT: What are your plans for the coming months? what you discuss with your coach about the situation and the new season?
First of all, we do not consider the next as a new season. This period is just a break for us before we complete this season. We look at the positive side of the situation, as it is a very good chance to improve some special skills and work on my strength level and my body balance and this is something that we work on almost daily. Also, we take some intensive fencing lessons about technique and rhythm in short distance at a private place. We will certainly continue to work until the end of July, and then we will plan the future when FIE makes new announcements about the restart of the Olympic Season. From the 5th of May, we are allowed to use the open stadiums of Athens and from June maybe we will be allowed to use the fencing hall of Olympic Stadium, which will enable us to make our training more effective.
The current situation is a great chance to improve my physical skills and be more ready and confident for the Olympic Games of 2021.