Covid-19 delay no issue as Repacholi set his mind on Tokyo Olympic gold

MASKED GUNMAN: Dan Repacholi wears a mask on the shooting range at the Australian Olympic Shooting teams training headquarters in Queensland.
MASKED GUNMAN: Dan Repacholi wears a mask on the shooting range at the Australian Olympic Shooting teams training headquarters in Queensland.

Cessnock shooter Dan Repacholi is juggling work, long training sessions and being away from his family with one sole goal in mind.

"I don't want to be known as a five-time Olympian, I want to be known as an Olympic gold medallist," Repacholi said from the Australian Shooting training camp in Brisbane last week.

"People say how good it is going to five Olympics and that's a great achievement. That five doesn't mean anything, that gold means everything."

Repacholi has worn the green and gold at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016, as well as at four Commonwealth Games campaigns.

He believes he is ready to claim gold and far from complaining about the 12-month Covid-19 delay in the Olympics scheduling, Repacholi believes it will stand him in good stead to take the centre spot on the podium and gold in 10-metre air pistol in just over six months time.

"I think the person who wins the OIympics is the one who is the most adaptable," Repacholi said.

"This will be a very, very different Olympics to any anyone has been to before.

"Honestly for me it is exciting and a different kind of journey.

"I've been to four others and the biggest issues has been the toilets haven't been flushing or the grass hadn't been layed.

"This is entirely different, we won't be all in groups, we won't be all together we will be doing things very, very different.

"I'm not a 22-year-old any more, I'm 38, 39 by then, so I have the life and competitive experiences to cope with and adapt to the ever changing circumstances we've been in."

Repacholi and his teammates are receiving regular updates from the Australian and International Olympic Committees on the situation in Tokyo.

He believes the Games will go ahead and be an important boost for a world exhausted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Everyone wants this Olympics to go ahead. The athletes do, the world does," he said.

"They are doing everything they can to make it safe and right to go.

"I think in some ways it will be like the post-war Games after the two world wars which brought everyone back together."

Repacholi said having an extra 12 months to prepare for the games was a tremendous boost for him and hopefully the rest of the Australian shooting team.

"That extra time to prepare mentally I think that's the biggest thing for us, especially for me. Usually you only have two to three months from when the team is announced and then you have to get your mindset ready to win," he said.

"We'll have realistically 16 months to prepare ourselves to be in the right mindset to be able to go there to win.

"Depending on how things do, we may see a change how and when the teams are announced in the future."

Repacholi cut a holiday with his family short to ensure he was able to be in Queensland for the Australian training camp and will be in Queensland until at least the end of the month, but may extend that if he has to undergo quarantining on returning to NSW.

"When it looked like Queensland and other states may close the borders on NSW we cut our holiday short and I headed straight up here by car on New Year's Day," he said.

"We went into training for five days and then ironically went back into full isolation for three days for the Queensland lockdown.

"Alex (his wife) and the two girls weren't able to get up, but we've been in contact everyday and at least we're in the same country as normally at the stage of preparation for an Olympics I would be in Europe competing."

Repacholi has been able to combine work with his training and exercise programs.

"I have been working at least four or five hours a day, sometimes six or seven, which has been great because without my employer Double R Equipment Repairs I wouldn't be able to do this.

"There's plenty of time shooting, in the gym, walking, swimming, plenty of fitness stuff as well as time with Alex and the girls. I'm kept busy but it's been very good."