BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- China's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Li Lingwei said on Thursday that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games could be a chance for athletes to become "real champions."
"We are all experiencing things that have never happened before in our lives. Once you go through a hard time, you can become a real strongman," Li said.
As the Tokyo Games postponed, the vice president of the Chinese Olympic Committee admitted it would affect the preparation of the teams, especially given that the COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading across the world and the time to restart sporting events globally remains uncertain.
"If you are preparing for a competition, you will have a clear goal with inner potential and passion. But if not, the daily training can be very boring," the former badminton world champion said she understood the athletes' feelings.
Despite many obstacles ahead, Li encouraged athletes to take this period as a chance to re-adjust since the situation is fair to everyone.
"Instead of waiting passively, athletes should make full use of this opportunity to self-reflect, recuperate from injuries and tackle shortcomings," the 56-year-old former legendary shuttler suggested.
"Today's hard work may not immediately pay off tomorrow, but will eventually bring you good results in the future."
Li, who is also a deputy to the National People's Congress of China, believed next year's Olympic Games will be a comprehensive examination, where athletes could show the world how they arranged their training and lives during the pandemic.
"Will you be fully prepared? Will you have your skills improved? Can you accept a high-intensive game schedule? An excellent athlete is not someone who only runs fast or jumps high, but one who is capable of dealing with various situations and having comprehensive abilities," Li noted.
"From this perspective, I think the champion of the Tokyo Olympics is the real champion."
The Tokyo Games will kick off on July 23, 2021, with Beijing Winter Olympics being held six months later.
Speaking of the legacies of Beijing 2022, Li focused on mental ones, saying "sports play an important role in children's education."
"Physical education is not only about doing exercises but to let the children learn to respect the rules, their rivals and referees, and know how to face success and failure, cooperation and competition," she pointed out.