Marathoner Diver not deterred by delay

Australian marathoner Sinead Diver will be 44 by the time Tokyo 2021 comes along, but she won't let age deter her from competing at her first Olympics.

After waiting 43 years for her first Olympics, Australian marathon runner Sinead Diver isn't going to let another 12 months stop her.

Diver's hopes of competing in Tokyo in early August were dashed by the IOC's overnight announcement that the event will be delayed 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Only taking up running in 2010 when she was 33, after the birth of her son, Diver won't be deterred by the delay.

She missed the Rio Olympics with a knee injury and isn't about to let another chance to compete slide by.

"The postponement is better than cancellation ... I've still got a lot left in me," said Diver, who only ran her first marathon in 2014.

"I'm disappointed that it's not on but next year is better than not at all.

"I'm a latecomer but I've got lots of time left."

Like many athletes, the virus has also hit her income.

Ireland-born Diver, who moved to Australia in 2002, was due to compete at the London Marathon on April 26 where, as a drawcard, she would have been paid up to $80,000 in appearance fees on top of likely prize-money.

Under the guidance of coach Nic Bideau, who steered Cathy Freeman to Olympic glory in 2000, she was also targeting the Australian women's marathon record of two hours 22 minutes 36 seconds set by Benita Willis in 2006.

She has the mark in sight after finishing fifth at the New York City Marathon last November in a time of 2:26:23, while her personal best, set at the London race last year is 2:24:11.

"I was going to try for the Australian record but obviously that's not on anymore," Diver said.

Bideau said Diver, along with other members of his coaching stable such as steeplechaser Genevieve Gregson and 10,000m national record-holder Stewart McSweyn, were on target to be at their best during Tokyo 2020.

The challenge is ensuring they can repeat the feat 12 months later.

"It's a tremendous challenge to line up all the right ingredients for a great performance," Bideau said.

"These people have lined it up really well and had a great last 12 months so whether we can line it up again? We have to if we want to be in the same shape again but it's easier said than done."


AAP