Tokyo Olympics 2020: Dubai's Adri Arnaus gears up for golfing gold quest
I received the news that I was selected to represent Spain for golf in the Olympics in Japan the day after the US Open at Torrey Pines on June 21, a date I will remember for the rest of my life.
I was both excited and proud as it has always been an ambition of mine to play golf for Spain at the Olympics, having watched it in Rio in 2016. I never thought I would be going to the next edition just four years later, sorry, five years later, not forgetting COVID-19. I have always enjoyed watching the Olympics and all sports, with my sporting Olympic heroes being swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt — and a few Spaniards.
I am dealing with the Spanish Golf Federation (SGF) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (SOC) with all my Olympics arrangements and planning. I have received my Spanish Olympic golf bag from the SGF and I will receive all my uniforms when I meet up with Jon Rahm and the rest of the team from the SOC in Japan.
I will arrive in Japan on Thursday night solely to be able to be part of the opening ceremony on Friday evening in Tokyo. I do not want to miss the experience of being an Olympic athlete, so I am staying in the Village along with 230 other athletes and officials from the Spanish team and a total of 18,000 athletes and officials, but not all staying at the same time, again due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Despite the ‘no spectator rules’ at any Olympic event, and us athletes not being able to watch any other sports, apart from on the TV, I am determined to enjoy my time in Japan.
I went to an elite sports high school back home in Spain, so I am looking forward to mixing with my fellow athletes who I am still in touch with, including those who are representing Spain in sports such as synchronised swimming, track and field events and hockey.
From my Olympics information pack I understand that I am allowed access to the golf course from Sunday.
Regarding my preparation for next week, I have been here in Dubai for a few days coming from Barcelona, as I was not eligible for The Open this year. I have been practising at JA The Resort, Jebel Ali, over the last few days and although the weather is pretty hot in the Dubai summer, I have enjoyed hitting balls on the range early in the day, as well as putting on the practice greens, as I find them always consistent and smooth all year round.
Before the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ireland a few weeks ago, I spent some time in Liverpool on the range with my golf coach Mike Walker, part of the Peter Cowen team, to check up on all my basics.
Never do a couple of days go by without me chatting or sending over swing videos to Mike to show him what I am doing and, so far, it seems to be working well for us all, having linked up with Mike and Pete in Abu Dhabi at the start of 2021.
Last Saturday I had my first of two Pfizer vaccinations in Dubai as it has not been easy to do it before, with all my usual travelling. In addition, I had COVID-19 earlier this year in March at the Qatar Masters, so fingers crossed I am reasonably safe health wise. I am also taking daily PCR tests in Dubai before flying out on Wednesday night, and I am sure there will plenty more health tests and checks when I arrive in Tokyo.
My targets for next week at the Olympics are not only to play my best and enjoy being around my teammate, US Open champion Jon Rahm, but all the athletes from other sports, especially from Team Spain, and see how they prepare themselves both physically and mentally.
My fitness coach is Dubai based Joel Neale, who I keep in touch with throughout the season and always see him face to face at both the end of the year and start of the year, when I work on my core strengths. I will be back in Dubai post Olympics. Come on Spain!
Adri spoke to Nick Tarratt, Special to Gulf News