From fast lane to supermarket aisle for Olympian
FROM Tokyo dreams of lane seven in an Olympic final to the reality of a clean-up in aisle three at the local supermarket.
Rising Queensland track star Riley Day has told of the disappointment at missing out on a first Olympic Games, and how she plans to fill the void left by a virtual global shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Day, who turns 20 on Monday, missed the final of the 200m sprint at the 2018 Commonwealth Games by an agonising .01sec, and was building towards a career-best season before the postponement of the Olympics in July.
However with her mother working as a hospital nurse, the sprinter, from a small farming community outside Beaudesert, understands full well that the pandemic transcends sport and is trying to remain upbeat.
"You do talk to some of the other athletes and there's a lot of sadness there but everyone, not just in sport, has had something taken away from them at this time," she said.
"We aren't getting to go to the Olympics, but there are people dying because of this.
"It's definitely hard to stay motivated, but at least we know that it's probably going to be at the same time next year so we still have something to be striving for."
The Australian Track and Field Championships were due to have been held this weekend and, barring disaster, Day would have likely qualified for the Olympics, but that will now remain a hypothetical.
Even her Brisbane training track is now closed due to the coronavirus.
While she's still doing some light training to keep in shape - mainly by jogging around the family farm - she is also studying part-time for a business degree majoring in sports management, and working at a Beaudesert supermarket.
It is entirely possible that instead of appearing in an Olympic final in lane seven - her personal best time of 22.93 seconds would have just missed the 2016 final, Day could find herself attending a clean-up in aisle three at the supermarket.
Her best time this year of 23.3 is outside the Olympic qualifying mark, but it came out-of-season and running into a strong head wind.
"There's nothing we can do about it, so we just have to accept it," she said.
"It's just about trying to stay healthy and keeping positive.
"From where I'm at now, I've got a really good base so hopefully I can give it a good shake when we get back on track."
Originally published as From fast lane to supermarket aisle for Olympian