Olympics: Brazil's athletes return to training after months at home

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB) reopened its training centres on Tuesday as athletes who missed out on this year’s postponed Tokyo Games took the first steps in preparing for action in Japan 12 months from now.

Competitors were back in the pool, on courts and at gymnasiums after months of training from home during the new coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a good time for us to go back,” said swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha. “Looking forward to the 2021 Olympics. The feeling of starting over to fulfill a dream. Today’s first practice was a warm-up.”

The athletes, all of whom wore masks, wiped down equipment before heaving on weight machines at the start of what they hope will be the road to Tokyo, which has rescheduled the 2020 Olympic Games for July 23-Aug. 8 2021.

“We’re facing a very difficult time, but we’ll get through it,” said Jorge Bichara, the BOC’s sport manager.

“We’re going to resume training. We are going to work very hard next year so that the athletes arrive in good condition at the 2021 Olympics and can represent Brazil.”

Rio de Janeiro hosted the 2016 Games and invested heavily in upgrading and building new facilities for athletes to prepare.

Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Ken Ferris