Tokyo holds a special place in Tom Mitchell’s heart from 2015 and he is hoping to re-live the good memories in 2020 when Japan hosts the Olympic games.
Mitchell’s memories stem from the fact that his first-ever tournament on the HSBC World Sevens Series was in Tokyo. However, the 29-year-old is well aware that he has to earn a spot in the squad that will represent Team GB and he is working towards it.
“Japan used to be on the world series, the last time it was there we won back in 2015,” he told Eurosport. “That was the first tournament I won in my sevens career which is a nice memory for me.
“One year to go is kind of the first point that we can realise that this is really happening next year. The first part of realisation was after we gained that qualification on behalf of Team GB, and now we have got one year to go, it starts to feel that little bit more real.
“Of course there is a lot going on between now and then, but it is nice to have that moment of looking ahead and thinking ‘what if?’ and just enjoying the excitement of an amazing competition.”
Who's ready for the next Olympic Rugby 7's? Tom Mitchell is. https://t.co/JxUIwv7TRx
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Mitchell and his teammates know that going into this Olympics, as 2016 silver medallists will not be enough, they will have to put in much more work as the stakes have been raised.
England had to go through the European regional qualifiers to earn an Olympic berth for 2020, a testament as to how competitive this year was especially on the world series.
Mitchell was quoted by Eurosport as saying: “ We went to Rio as unknowns, there had never been a Team GB, we hadn’t played on the world series at all that year.
“Given that, it was an amazing experience and we certainly feel like we probably went beyond our potential in what we achieved out there.
“It is always tough losing in finals, don’t get me wrong. But we felt like we delivered so well in terms of getting the medal and in how we delivered with the whole Team GB process.
“We have unbelievable memories of that, but they seem quite distant memories now.
“The Olympics means sevens has been propelled on to greater heights and teams are trying to put more and more into it to try and get in those top spots.
“Look at our qualification this year, it was much more challenging than four years ago.”
Although the Englishman has had a fair share of silverware since 2015 including a silver and bronze medal in Rio 2016 and the 2018 Commonwealth Games respectively, he is looking to add to his collection in Tokyo 2020.
“What I took away from Rio was not just the silver medal, it was the experience and the journey which was just as rewarding,” he said. “If I can get that again in Tokyo then I will be an incredibly happy man and just to be involved would be an amazing thing.”
Main photo credit: Twitter