Safwan Khalil's biggest concern while preparing to kickstart Australia's bid for medals in Tokyo has been heartbreaking updates from family in Lebanon, rather than COVID-19 disruptions.
Khalil's third Olympics starts and ends on Saturday, when the men's 58kg taekwondo competition represents one of 11 gold medals up for grabs.
The 35-year-old, who lost a bronze-medal bout at London 2012 then finished seventh at Rio, looms as Australia's best chance of securing their first Olympic medal in the sport since Lauren Burns.
The taekwondoin, who was eight months old when his family fled to Australia while escaping Lebanon's civil war, has had a lot on his plate during recent years.
Khalil quit his job in 2019 and shifted from western Sydney to train fulltime at taekwondo's high-performance hub in Melbourne, only to return home in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of international competition and lockdowns have been challenging, but it has paled in comparison to scenes and first-hand accounts from his country of birth.
Lebanon is experiencing medicine, electricity, water and fuel shortages amid what the World Bank fears will be among the world's three worst financial crises since the 1850s, while AAP spoke with Khalil as Israel-Lebanon tensions escalated prior to a cease-fire in May.
"We don't have much family in Australia. We're in touch with family over there every day," he said.
"My mum has 12 brothers and sisters, and all their kids are there. My father has 15 brothers and sisters, their families are there.
"It's heartbreaking. You hear their stories, it's not like hearing it from a news outlet. You speak to them, see the buildings and what's happened.
"It's like 'wow, this is a reality check'. Last year, some people were like 'oh my god I have to wear a mask, you can't have more than 20 people in your house'.
"At least you have a home, you can rest and not worry about bombs or people threatening your livelihood.
"It keeps things in perspective but it's painful. There's a big part of my heart that's doing this for so many people over there, they've been really supportive and proud."
Khalil faces Thai fighter Ramnarong Sawekwiharee in Saturday's first bout.
The veteran hasn't competed outside Australia since urgently returning home from last year's European tour.
"At previous Games, you've watched everyone closely and fought against them in recent months," he said.
"Now you don't really know where everyone's at.
"But I'm just grateful that we get this opportunity."
Australian Associated Press