Mel Marshall Elated As Peaty And Greenbank Make Team GB: We Need Hope Amid Dark Challenges

Coach Mel Marshall and Adam Peaty London Roar ISL by Mike Lewis D5D_8966
Mel Marshall and Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis / ISL

Mel Marshall responded to the selection of Adam Peaty and Luke Greenbank to Team GB for the Tokyo Olympics by saying “a little bit of hope is what we all need” as the pandemic continues to wreak deadly havoc.

Peaty and Greenbank – coached by Marshall at the National Centre Loughborough – were among four swimmers, along with Duncan Scott and James Wilby, to gain pre-selection following their medal-winning performances in individual events at the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju after British Swimming revised its selection policy for Tokyo.

If Peaty was to win the 100br, he would become the first British swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic title following his gold at Rio 2016.

The world record-holder would also be only the second swimmer in history – after the great Kosuke Kitajima – to win the event twice.

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Luke Greenbank and Adam Peaty cheer Duncan Scott home to medley relay gold with James Guy at the World Championships in Gwangju – Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Greenbank took bronze in the 200 back in Gwangju and also led off the British 4×100 medley relay that secured a stunning victory when Scott swam the second-fastest split in history of 46.14 to overhaul Nathan Adrian in the final metres.

However, speculation abounds as to whether the Games will go ahead as coronavirus cases soar around the world.

On Friday, the Japanese government, IOC and IPC all refuted a report in The Times that quoted a senior government source saying the Olympics will be cancelled.

Marshall competed at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics before moving on to poolside as head coach at the City of Derby club where a 14-year-old Peaty accompanied his friend Kyle to a try-out session one day.

The rest, as they say, is history.

In an interview with Swimming World to mark International Women’s Day last year, Marshall described those moments when she sat alone high up in the stands on 7 August 2016, a combination of worry, anticipation and excitement ahead of the race.

And the sheer relief as he claimed the title, hauling himself on to the lane ropes, arms aloft and Marshall in tears.

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Melanie Marshall – Photo Courtesy: Action Woman Twitter

Now she hopes memories can be created in Tokyo – not only for Peaty and Greenbank but for all the athletes and the wider world.

Marshall told Swimming World:

“I am over the moon.

“It was positive news the other day to hear the Japanese prime minister talk of his plans to protect the Games and (how he) sees it as a project where humanity can triumph in the summer.

“While the world is experiencing a very difficult winter and working through the dark challenges of this tragic time, a little bit of hope is what we all need.

“There are a group of athletes worldwide that I am sure are committed to every safety protocol needed to adhere to to be involved in the summer Games.

“Covid has erased so much from everyone’s memory books, the Olympics is always such a symbol for everyone.

“Maybe this Summer the Games can be the first step towards normality.”


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