Australian Penny Smith counts down to Olympic Games like no other

SURREAL: Penny Smith knows preparation for the Tokyo Games is unusual but is embracing the build-up. Picture: Morgan Hancock

SURREAL: Penny Smith knows preparation for the Tokyo Games is unusual but is embracing the build-up. Picture: Morgan Hancock

FIRST-TIME Olympian Penny Smith is taking an unusual coronavirus-impacted lead-up to the Tokyo Games in her stride.

The Victorian trap shooter, who hails from Bookaar, has had to extend her stay in Queensland due to the lockdown restrictions in her home state.

Smith, 26, had planned to fly home from Brisbane on Tuesday after a two-week training and competition block.

She'll now remain up north until June 16 before flying to Darwin with Australian teammate Tom Grice for a weeklong training block in humid conditions similar to what they might face in Japan.

"I will reassess after that, whether I come back home or come back to Brisbane," Smith told ACM.

Smith is excited about her impending Olympic debut despite the pandemic restricting athletes' movements. She will fly to Japan on July 22 and compete on July 28, 29 and 31.

GREEN AND GOLD: Penny Smith is proud to represent Australia at the Olympic Games. Picture: Morgan Hancock

GREEN AND GOLD: Penny Smith is proud to represent Australia at the Olympic Games. Picture: Morgan Hancock

"We're only going to be in the village five days prior to our event and we're out within 48 hours straight after into hotel quarantine in Sydney," Smith said.

"Before we leave, we have to do a bit over two weeks here in Brisbane as a staging camp.

"There will be a lot of COVID testing and monitoring that goes along with it. It is pretty full-on really.

"They are pretty tight on everything, which they have to be with the COVID situation.

"They are doing a really good job to keep us all safe and do the best they can."

The Australian shooting team, which consists of trap, skeet, pistol and rifle competitors, "has been fully vaccinated".

"We got our second vaccination last Monday which was good," said Smith, who got the Pfizer vaccine.

"There was a little bit of nervousness around getting it to start with but it was fine."

The Australians are unsure what to expect at the games, given visitors from other countries won't be permitted.

"If there's crowds or no crowds, it's still going to be an Olympic Games regardless," Smith said.

"There will be plenty of officials and ground staff there.

"We haven't heard too much about how many Japanese spectators (will be allowed) or what the situation is there but it's an evolving situation for everyone going forward.

"I guess we won't know a lot of things until we're on ground in Tokyo."

KEEN INTEREST: Penny Smith, who once competed in equestrian, wanted to watch the sport at the Olympics but COVID-19 restrictions has ruled it out. Picture: Morgan Hancock

KEEN INTEREST: Penny Smith, who once competed in equestrian, wanted to watch the sport at the Olympics but COVID-19 restrictions has ruled it out. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Smith, who would've liked to watch equestrian and athletics, said her Darwin trip was a final opportunity to prepare for the games.

"It's going to be a good opportunity for the both of us to replicate what it's going to be like in Tokyo on the ground," she said.

"You are more fatigued and get tired easier (when it's humid) so we want to replicate that the best we can."

Smith said it would be "nice to come home with a medal" but, at 26, hopes she has more opportunities to represent her country at the biggest sporting event on the planet.

"We'll see what this games brings and it's really not that far until the next Olympics Games (in 2024)," she said.

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This story 'If there's crowds or no crowds, it's still going to be an Olympic Games' first appeared on The Standard.