Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Dubai’s Adri Arnaus gears up for golf gold quest
I received the news that I was selected to represent Spain for golf at the Olympics in Japan the day after the US Open at Torrey Pines on June 21, a date I will remember all my life.
I was both excited and proud as I always had the ambition to play golf for Spain at the Olympics, after watching it in Rio in 2016. I never thought I would go to the next edition only four years later, sorry, five years later, not to mention COVID-19. I’ve always loved watching the Olympics and all sports, my Olympic sporting heroes being swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Usain Bolt – and a few Spaniards.
I deal with the Spanish Golf Federation (SGF) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (SOC) for all my Olympic arrangements and planning. I received my Spanish Olympic golf bag from SGF and will receive all of my uniforms when I meet Jon Rahm and the rest of the SOC team in Japan.
I will be arriving in Japan on Thursday evening only to be able to participate in the opening ceremony on Friday evening in Tokyo. I don’t want to miss the experience of being an Olympic athlete, so I stay in the village with 230 other athletes and officials of the Spanish team and a total of 18,000 athletes and officials, but not all at the same time, yet once due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Despite the “no spectator rules” at any Olympic event, and we, the athletes, unable to watch any other sport except on television, I am determined to enjoy my time in Japan.
I went to an elite sports high school in Spain, so I can’t wait to meet my fellow athletes with whom I am still in contact, including those who represent Spain in sports such as synchronized swimming, events athletics and hockey.
From my Olympic Games information pack, I understand that I am allowed to access the golf course from Sunday.
Regarding my preparation for next week, I have been here in Dubai for a few days from Barcelona, because I was not eligible for the Open this year. I have been practicing at JA The Resort, Jebel Ali, for the past few days and although the weather is quite hot in the summer in Dubai, I enjoyed hitting balls on the field early in the day as well as setting the greens workout, because I always find them consistent and smooth all year round.
Ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ireland a few weeks ago, I spent time in Liverpool on the pitch with my golf coach Mike Walker, team member Peter Cowen, checking all my basics.
Never go a few days without chatting or sending Mike swing videos to show him what I’m doing and so far it seems to be working well for all of us, having joined Mike and Pete in Abu Dhabi. early 2021.
Last Saturday I had my first of two Pfizer vaccines in Dubai as it was not easy to do before with all my usual travel. Additionally, I had COVID-19 earlier this year in March at the Qatar Masters, so with my fingers crossed I’m reasonably safe in terms of my health. I also have daily PCR tests in Dubai before I fly on Wednesday night, and I’m sure there will be a lot more health tests and checks when I arrive in Tokyo.
My goals for next week at the Olympics are not just to play my best and enjoy my teammate, US Open champion Jon Rahm, but all the athletes in other sports, especially the Spain team, and to see how they are preparing physically and mentally.
My physical trainer is Joel Neale, based in Dubai, with whom I stay in touch throughout the season and always see him face to face both at the end of the year and at the beginning of the year, when I am working on my strong points. I will be back in Dubai after the Olympics. Go Spain!
Adri spoke to Gulf News Special Nick Tarratt