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Guapo’s 3x3 passion helping her through tough times
LA ROCHE-BLANCHE (France) – A grueling fitness regime and, of course, shooting hoops almost daily is helping Laetitia Guapo get through these grim times.
The world number one women's 3x3 player is living with her parents in the village of La Roche-Blanche in central France, which is in lockdown after the country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Even through this tough situation, which has caused mass panic worldwide and upheaval in everyday life, a disciplined Guapo has stayed in peak physical condition with hoops helping fill the void.
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"I am happy because I live in a house so I can do lot of things. I don’t have time to get bored," she says. "My days begin at 6 or 7 am. I go for a run with my father after I exercise.
"I play basketball. I have one basket and my 3x3 balls, so it's perfect. But I miss my teammates."
Even sports, which for so many people provides escapism from normal life, has been affected by the coronavirus adding to the uncertainty globally. 3x3 hasn't been immune to the turmoil with the FIBA men's and women’s professional seasons on hold starting with the FIBA 3x3 Olympic qualifying tournament originally scheduled for March 18-22.
"With my teammates we try to stay positive,” Guapo says. “We would have liked to go to India but we prefer to be healthy and take care of ourselves and our family and friends.”
The Olympic dream for athletes has been postponed until next year, but a pragmatic Guapo believes the wait will make her and the French team stronger.
"It's hard because we dream about this for more than a year," she says. "We have to continue to believe and to work for this. We must overcome the obstacles and if we think like this then that it will help us get through.
"The world is in a bad situation, so making sure we have a healthy population is most important right now."
When she's back on the court, rest assured the 6ft (1.83m) sharpshooter will be even more of a nightmare for opponents after having plenty of time to hone her game.
"I want to continue to improve on my two-point shot but also on my jump shoot," she says. "I am working on alternating between driving to the basket and stop and shooting - the changes in rhythm."
Guapo's determination to keep improving even during adversity will surely inspire France, who have big dreams when the season eventually starts. But. perhaps most importantly, the 24-year-old will relish simply being able to play with her teammates again.
"I want to continue to improve and mature," she says. "I want to take pleasure and enjoy being with my team."