Digby: postponement of the Tokyo Paralympics is a "weight off his shoulders"

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 7:01 PM EDT
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Otsego High School graduate AJ Digby competed four years ago at the Rio Paralympics in the 200 and 400-meter dash events. He was just one spot away from a medal in the 400-meter event.

Digby found out about the postponement of the Tokyo Paralympics the same way many of us did Tuesday. Coincidentally it was from a report by Ottawa Hills native Christine Brennan.

"Kind of got that weight off my shoulders of, 'Oh, I need to get out and train in case it still happens,'" Digby said.

Because with everything closed, the training is not happening for Digby and just about every other Olympic athlete.

Digby competed the last three and a half years for Mount Union's track team. He finished second in the 500-meter dash at the conference indoor meet and qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championship. That too - cancelled.

"That was a really eerie feeling knowing that everything we had done for the last six months as well if you count the previous three years was all over at that point,"Digby said. "It is just kind of a weird you're in a hiatus sense of what is happening, what is going on, what do I do?"

Digby says he has another year of outdoor track eligibility remaining at Mount Union. This also provides him a chance to train with others around him as he preps to qualify the the postponed Tokyo Paralympics.

"I think towards Tokyo it definitely is a benefit to have this time off because of the state of where we are training-wise and training being impacted," Digby said. "But towards the college season, towards that sort of thing it could go either way. We were in really good shape coming out of indoor and going into outdoor. I was set up to run really well and so was the most of the rest of our team and now you have to restart that cycle not knowing what sort of injuries or illnesses could plague you next year. But at the same time, this is a little bit of time off where I know I'm not going to be competing for a whole year so I can take a little bit of time off, try to heal up."