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Q&A with Daryll Neita

The 23-year-old British sprinter on life as an athlete in Florida, where lockdown is now being eased

How are you coping with not being able to train properly amid the coronavirus pandemic?

We’re just doing what we can on our own, it’s a crazy time. Lockdown does sound like it has been stricter in the UK, though. I’m trying to stay on top of things and stay focused. Being away from my family in London has been a little difficult at a time like this but I made the decision to stay in the sun and to be around my coach.

How are you managing to stay afloat and motivated at such an uncertain time?

It would be so easy to give up on everything but you have to retain a little bit of hope that there will be a bit of a season. As athletes, we thrive on structure and need to know what we’re doing in training. We’re regimented people and this has blown a lot of plans apart. I wonder what will happen to some people who don’t have financial support from sponsors.

Will this be the making of some athletes, but troubling for others?

I can see how some people would be questioning things with no money coming in while there are no events. We’re all in the same boat and don’t know what’s happening now, except for Tokyo being next year. I was Googling ‘Olympics’ daily for weeks, trying to find out what was going on!

Is the postponement of the Olympics good or bad news for you?

You work on four-year Olympic cycles so for some people, the fact they’ll be a year older might sway them. But for everyone, it does give an extra year to get ready and it could be perfect for athletes who felt they were not going to be 100 per cent this summer. Hopefully Tokyo will be a celebration next year and I am aiming to be there and going for the medals.

What are your memories of the former British team boss Neil Black, who died last month?

I could not believe it as I spoke to him only the week before. He always made the effort to check in on me and was even doing that after leaving his performance director role. I appreciated that. May his soul rest in peace.