Meet the Team GB athletes ready to show 'these opportunities are available to everybody'

Alice Dearing: 'I really hope that people can look at me and realise that these opportunities are available to everybody'

The first sporting encounters of the Olympic Games have got underway, a triumph considering the doubt they would even take place.

It is such a huge event that some of the competition has to start before the Opening Ceremony.

Two days before the Games in Tokyo are formally launched on Friday, the women's football got off to a good start for Team GB - who won their first group match against Chile.

The British team boasts pioneers as well as household football names, and Team GB's host of female talent doesn't stop there.

Alice Dearing, who is also a Loughborough student, is Britain's first ever Black female Olympic swimmer.

She told ITV News: "I didn't set out, when I first started swimming, to be an Olympian, but thinking all those years of work I've put in, it's a lot of time - especially considering how young I am - to have that moment is exciting."

"I do love to think about it, and think about maybe getting on the podium and people seeing me on the TV and just knowing there is that opportunity available to them." she added.

So while a medal is her priority, by just being in Tokyo, Alice hopes to inspire a generation of Black youngsters.

"I never thought I would be that kind of role model in any way and to be in that position is really exciting and I really hope that people can look at me and realise that these opportunities are available to everybody.

"I suppose it gives an extra edge to my Olympic career and status - of being able to add to a piece of Black history."

Mallory Franklin is a master of the white water. Britain's most successful ever woman canoeist and now an Olympian.

But for her, the gender make-up of Team GB takes second place to the benefits the Games bring.

'I'll be at that event and just enjoy the explosion of sport', Mallory Franklin says

She said: "We want to see athletes competing and for me, I'll watch that entire event, I'll be at that event and just enjoy the explosion of sport especially with what's going on around the world."

"And hopefully we're able to celebrate athletes and their performances and I think for me that's what I will focus on."

For the first time Team GB has more women competitors than men.

Female athletes continue to face challenged, however, Norway's beach handball team were fined £1,300 for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms at a European Championship match.

While Paralympian Olivia Breen, who mainly competes in the T38 sprint and F38 long jump events, was chided by a female official while participating at the English Championships in Bedford.

She said she was "disgusted" after the official said her briefs were "too short and inappropriate".

While the opening ceremony is still two days away - organisers are hoping now the sport is underway, the conversation will change.

But with Covid infections rising again in Tokyo - these Olympics are a long way from the finish line.