'We stand a good chance' - Ipswich Team GB star Ethan on Tokyo 2020
- Credit: Karla Waddleton
An Ipswich rugby player says he is excited to take on the challenge of the Olympics after making Team GB.
Ethan Waddleton will be heading to Tokyo as part of the rugby 7’s team.
Mr Waddleton, 24, is a former pupil of St Joseph's College in Ipswich and is one of only 12 players to make the cut for the squad.
It's been a long wait for Mr Waddleton to find out if he had made the Tokyo 2020 squad.
"We've been in camp since February time," said Mr Waddleton.
"There was a squad of 20."
However, of the 20 players at the camp only 12 could go on to Tokyo.
"It was quite heated in training at times," said Mr Waddleton.
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"Everyone was trying to put their mark down to get their position.
"We found out with a one to one with the head coach. You either got a thumbs up or a thumbs down and fortunately for me it was a thumbs up."
Going to the Olympics has been a long-held dream for Mr Waddleton.
"As with most sportsmen you watch the Olympics, the 100m and stuff. I was never built for that unfortunately but I've been in the 7's for six years.
"My first year was when the boys were in Rio 2016 which was the first time rugby 7's was in the games so I was a bit young at the time and wasn't expecting to be on that trip.
"Ever since then I saw the boys go and do quite well and get a silver medal it's been an ambition of mine to really strike for Tokyo.
"At times we weren't sure it was going to happen because of what was going on in the world."
Mr Waddleton's preparations have been somewhat stifled by the presence of the coronavirus.
"It's hard to prepare," said Mr Waddleton.
"We have all these protocols we have to stick to. We have to look after ourselves.
"Even when we are back home and things started to open up it was still very much the same, no going out to pubs no going out to areas where there are lots of people.
"One Covid test could throw a spanner in the works. We just can't afford that.
"It's having our own set of rules and sticking by them. It's very tricky when you see the world going back to a bit of normality.
"It's worth it but in the short term it's tough to be so diligent."
The strict rules will continue for athletes when they get to Tokyo with bubbles set to be a key part of coronavirus safety at the games.
"We completely understand going into it," said Mr Waddleton.
Despite this Mr Waddleton is still looking forward to what the Olympics has to offer particularly Tokyo and the much-fabled food on offer as well as playing itself.
"Before Covid I would have said seeing the city of Tokyo was the thing I was most looking forward to," said Mr Waddleton.
"But because of the bubble we probably won't be able to see that.
"The boys always go on about the foodhall at the games and how massive it is.
"You have got everything you could ever ask for.
"The thing I am looking forward to is playing and representing Team GB and meeting other athletes."
Mr Waddleton feels that Team GB are in a good position going into the competition due to begin on July 26.
"I think we are going into it quite strong," said Mr Waddleton.
"This weekend it's the first time the squad of 12 will play together. I think we stand a good chance.
"I think our chances are pretty high we've got a lot of experienced heads in it.
"You can't skip on Fiji because they are different levels but the one team that throughout Covid has been able to train and get consistent is New Zealand.
"They are one you are going to have a hard game against if you come up against them."
To youngsters thinking of taking up rugby 7’s Mr Waddleton had this to say.
"The game of 7s is brilliant," said Mr Waddleton.
“The places you get to see and the people you get to meet.
"It's a one of a kind game and you make friends for life.
"I would tell youngsters to get to their local rugby club and carry on through and just enjoy themselves."