Milena Titoneli has been preparing for Tokyo 2020 with virtual-reality technology ©Getty Images

Brazilian taekwondo duo Ícaro Miguel and Milena Titoneli are using virtual-realty software to aid their training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

The technology simulates how opponents will challenge the players in real life to offer a training method safe to conduct amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We catalog the movements of opponents and transfer the tool," said coach Reginaldo Dos Santos, one of the technicians of the Brazilian national team, to Agência Brasil.

"We take as a basis what is done in Formula 1.

"We have a large collection of the struggles of our opponents and we take some athletes from our team who have characteristics similar to those opponents to make the capture of these movements.

"The idea is to do everything possible to get well in Tokyo and win the medals."

Brazil is one of the nations hit hardest by the pandemic, having had more than 2.61 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date - few than only the United States.

It also has the second-highest death toll, with more than 91,000 people losing their lives.

Ícaro Miguel, in red, is one of two Brazilian athletes to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in taekwondo ©Getty Images
Ícaro Miguel, in red, is one of two Brazilian athletes to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in taekwondo ©Getty Images

Dos Santos added: "It is a gigantic innovation and it is clear that the priority is the Olympic athletes but from now on, we can use it in all Championships.

"The equipment offers the chance to study all rivals.

"The idea is to train on the strengths and weaknesses of everyone, our team believes that the larger the group of people training together, [the better for] us to achieve as much as possible the situations that we will face in the fights."

Motion-capture suitswere used to develop the technology.

Titoneli, who won bronze at the 2019 World Championships in the women's 67-kilogram division as well as gold at the 2019 Pan American Games, believes the software is a significant help given the circumstances.

"We are inmates training in isolation, with a strict health protocol," Titoneli said.

"We do not have the part of the competition that is fundamental to analyse how our performance is.

"Therefore, this software completes the preparation - it helps a lot to have the measurements and analyses our performance in the most varied physical and organic vectors."

Miguel is also Brazil's brightest taekwondo stars, having won silver at the 2019 World Championships and the same medal at the 2019 Pan American Games.

Brazil won one bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics in taekwondo, thanks to the efforts of Maicon Siqueira.