South-west export and Paralympic rower Kathryn Ross is relieved the Tokyo Paralympics have been postponed.
The Paralympics were scheduled for August and September this year but on Tuesday both the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were postponed until dates to be confirmed in 2021.
Ross was hoping to qualify her boat, the PR2 Mixed Double Scull, at the final Paralympic qualification regatta in Gavirate, Italy, in early May.
"It's a little bit upsetting but it's definitely the right decision," she said.
"You've got to not think about all the work you've put in up to this event and all the hours.
"What all the world is going through is terrible.
"This (postponement) is a drop in the ocean compared to what is happening at the moment."
The three-time Paralympian, based in Canberra, said it had also been a disruptive year with not only the coronavirus pandemic but also the bushfires.
She said the silver lining was the postponement would give her a better chance to qualify for the Paralympics.
Just a fortnight ago she reunited with her Rio (2016) and London (2012) Paralympics rowing partner, Gavin Bellis.
They paired up at the Australian selection trials and were selected to go to Italy to try and earn a Paralympic qualification.
They needed to place in the top two.
"We were meant to go in three weeks time," she said.
"It's devastating what's happening, we have a lot of friends and connections there (Italy) so it's sad to see what's happening."
Ross said if the Paralympics went ahead as planned, she and Bellis would have missed on their chance to qualify because of country borders being shut.
The Paralympic qualification regatta in Italy was cancelled.
Ross said she and Bellis would now have more opportunities to train together and build up their teamwork.
They had only been training together the last couple of weeks since the Australian trials.
Right now, it's a waiting game for Ross with the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in place.
Rowing Australia advised rowing clubs across the nation to suspend operations earlier this week. It also suspended operations at its two national training centres.
"I can't row on water so it's all home-based training," she said.
"I train as much as I can at home."
Ross is getting great use out of the rowing machine she bought last year and she's lifting weights to maintain her strength.
"I'll have some discussion with Rowing Australia and my coach (Renae Domaschenz) to see what the plan is for the next 12 months and how to tackle that," she said.
The former Brauer College Warrnambool student doesn't know when the rescheduled qualification regattas will be.
"It's hard to make a full plan of what to peak for," she said.
Ross has found another upside of the Paralympics being postponed.
She's an emergency critical care nurse on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus.
"It's quite stressful and quite daunting," she said of the job.
She hopes and prays Australia doesn't find itself in as tough a position as Italy.
"We are preparing for that at the moment," she said.
"I had dropped to part-time leading into Tokyo but I'm picking up a lot more work now.
"Having this (Paralympics) decision made so far out (from the games) also relieves that.
"I'm able to step up a bit and put focus on the health of the community and my family."
While Ross' world has been turned upside down, she's grateful for the support of authoritative bodies.
"The support we've received from Rowing Australia, Rowing ACT and the ACT Academy of Sport has been outstanding to get where we are today and to keep us safe throughout all this," she said.
"It's wonderful the Paralympics and IPC, Australian Olympic Committee and FISA are thinking of athletes' welfare in the mix of all this.
"I take my hat off to them for the work they've done in trying to make things as painless as possible."
Ross, who won a silver medal at the Beijing Paralympics in 2008, had a message for those in her home town.
"I hope everyone in Warrnambool stays safe and looks after each other and the community during this time," she said.
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