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Toby Penty’s Isolation Diary

With less than two weeks to go until Tokyo 2020, we caught up with Toby Penty to take us inside how he’s preparing for his Olympic debut.

In his first ‘Isolation Diary’, Penty reveals how his bubble have helped him train consistently, what he’s planning to watch and read, and how he’ll be staying close contact with his family and friends.


With the Olympics getting ever closer, I’ve just been doing the simple things and staying safe prior to flying out.

I’m spending a lot of time at home or training and I’d say that the only odd time I’m going out at the moment is to pick up food.

That’s my 15-30 minutes a day to get some fresh air in and it gives me the opportunity to soak in what’s going on, especially with Tokyo coming around so fast.

Everything now feels a lot more real.

I have been training at the National Badminton Centre but I’ve been very lucky because I train predominantly at two different venues.

It gives me a little bit more luxury in terms of places and people I get to see.

I’ve been trying to stay as safe as possible and just being as sensible as possible because I don’t want to run that risk of catching anything.

I have a small bubble of five or six people who make sure they do their lateral flow tests every day but I try to limit myself to contact around those people.

My group consists of training partners, my coach and an S&C coach. They’re close mates, too, who I’ve known for a long time as well as training with them, so it’s a nice balance – they’re not just training partners.

We enjoy being around each other so it kind of takes my mind off other pressures going on and sometimes, when things get serious, they take the edge off of things which is great to have.

I’m focused at the moment but I enjoy the environment of training and having a laugh.

I don’t want to be too serious and I want to be playing with a smile on my face because when you have that feeling off the court, it often comes out on the court and helps me play my best.

Away from the training side of things, I’ve been preparing like any other athlete would when they’re potentially staring at being back in isolation… with some good series to binge watch!

I got recommended an HBO series called ‘The Vow’ – it’s a bit dark to be honest.

It’s about a cult across America and Canada so it’s a dark documentary series, which means I might need to buy something light to balance that out!

On the book side of things, I’ve just started one based on the exploits of the European Super League.

I’m interested in my sports and I love having a look behind the curtain.

I’ve packed a few books but I can’t say that I’m an avid reader – although I did promise myself over the last six months that I’d start reading a bit more and not just have my eyes on a tablet or a screen or going down a YouTube rabbit hole.

In terms of friends and family, I’ll be looking to speak to them as much as possible when I’m out in Tokyo.

I’m partial to a good phone call and I’m not the best texter so I’d rather have that interaction of actually hearing people’s voices.

For my parents and coach, who won’t be out there, it’ll be nice to keep them updated on the experience and what’s going on because they played a massive part in my journey.

I know, especially for my parents, they’d love to be out there.

I think they’d have loved the experience and it’s a massive shame but I know they’re going to be eagerly watching what’s going on from home.

I hope being constantly in touch with them, I can give them that bit of experience even if they’re not there.

Someone asked me the other day what I’m most looking forward to. I just want to take it in as a whole and make the most of it both as an experience and competitively.

Having not played since the All England, I’m really looking forward to competing again and getting back on the court.

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