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UAE professional cyclist Mirza urges everyone to stay home and stay safe

Yousif Mirza/Dubai
Filed on March 30, 2020
Team UAE Emirates' Yousif Mirza won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Track Cycling Championships

Tokyo 2020 was such a huge goal of mine and has been for a number of years but this target hasn't changed

I have come to terms with the fact that the 2020 cycling season is looking very different than normal because of the coronavirus crisis. All major sporting events around the world have been postponed including this summer's Olympic Games, which I believe to be a wise decision.

Postponing is an important word in that sentence. They haven't cancelled the Olympics; they're just changing the date. Tokyo 2020 was such a huge goal of mine and has been for a number of years but this target hasn't changed, it just means that the dates have been pushed back. It's something that has obviously disappointed me in the short term but it's a decision I agree with.

There is no better feeling than representing your country at the Olympic games and I am very proud to say that I competed at Rio in 2016.

The whole experience was amazing -- the Olympics is supposed to be a celebration of 4 years of hard work and training and a chance to show everyone your talents and inspire others. If the Olympics had gone ahead this summer, I don't think it would've been fair or appropriate.

Many of us have been in lockdown now for several weeks and restricted in what we can do and how we can train. I am still training hard whilst in isolation on the bike indoors, but nothing matches being on the track and doing the real thing.

It's very important, as professional sportsmen, that we stay active and don't let our fitness levels drop during this time. Riding the bike indoors and with double sessions most days, is a great way to break up your day, help time go quicker and stay fit and healthy.

During this lockdown and isolation period, one thing I am grateful for is that I am getting more time to spend with my family -- something I wouldn't have been able to do if the season was going ahead as normal.

The life of a pro cyclist means travelling the world, racing in amazing places and being looked after by team staff but you can be away from your family for months at a time so I'm trying to make the most of this time by ourselves.

It's incredibly important that all UAE residents stay positive and listen to the sound advice being given by the UAE government. I encourage everyone to #StayHome and stay safe.

(Cyclist Yousif Mirza, a gold medallist at the 2018 Asian Track Cycling Championships, represented the UAE in the 2016 Rio Olympics)

 


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