Adlington tells athletes to keep focus on Olympic success - despite coronavirus fears

Rebecca Adlington won two golds at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and urged athletes to focus on their Tokyo preparations - despite coronavirus fears

Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has urged Britain's Tokyo bound stars to focus their energy on winning, despite worries about the coronavirus.

Olympic officials have played down fears of Tokyo 2020 being delayed because of the outbreak insisting they’ll go ahead as scheduled.

But Japan’s Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, has hinted they could be postponed until later in the year - putting the finally balanced plans of athletes at risk.

Adlington said: "If this was me in that situation when I was competing it would be a case of me thinking ‘okay, until I hear otherwise, I’m continuing as usual.'

"As an athlete you’re so used to dealing with the fact you could get ill or injured at any point. That is sport.

"At the end of the day they’re going to take the advice from the IOC and the World Health Organisation but you have to put the all of those involved in the Olympics health first.

"My flights are booked, so I’m just the same as the athletes. At the end of the day there’s nothing I can do personally. I’m not particularly on edge at the moment, I’m just going to take instruction from the guys who are organising it."

As a trailblazer in women's sport - the first British woman to win an Olympic swimming gold in 48 years - Adlington is delighted at the prospect there will be more women than men on Team GB this summer.

But, she knows the attention will fall on Adam Peaty in her sport - as he seeks to do something no Brit ever has achieved and retain his Olympic title.

"It know how difficult it is to go in with that pressure of being defending champion, but if anyone can handle it then it’s Adam Peaty," she added.

"He’s been so unbeatable in his event but the great thing with Adam is he just never ever wants to stop.

"He wants to keep making history, he wants to keep bettering his personal best. He’s the perfect athlete with his mental attitude, physical attitude, his talent and hard work.

"He’s the full package and he’s one of the best assets we have in the sport."

Rebecca Adlington admits she's become more concerned about environmental issues since becoming a mother

Adlington, who shot to fame winning two golds as a teenager in Beijing, now invests much time in supporting the next generation of sporting talent.

And she has taken an active interest in environmental issues since becoming a mum to daughter Summer in 2015.

She is now campaigning with Smart Energy GB to highlight the £650 million of ‘invisible’ waste we could save as a nation by upgrading our outdated energy system - with simple steps including getting a smart meter installed.

"Since becoming a mum I’ve really been passionate about looking at ways I can help the planet,” she added.

"I take recycling really seriously, I try and play my part and conserve as much energy as possible. There’s so many different things you can do.

"I want my daughter’s future not to be affected, I don’t want to worry about our kids’ futures or to worry about what’s going to happen with the planet. The way that I think about the world and go about things has completely changed since I became a mum.

"For example, by getting a smart meter we can all help upgrade our outdated energy system. A smart meter is relatable, you can see your energy in pounds and pence. Being able to see it makes it visible and clear."