Mel Marshall On Doha 2024: The People That Really Matter In This Sport Have Not Been Considered

Melanie Marshall - Photo Courtesy: Action Woman Twitter

Mel Marshall On Doha 2024: The People That Really Matter In This Sport Have Not Been Considered

Mel Marshall has added her voice to the criticism of Doha 2024 accusing the powers-that-be of ignoring “the people that really matter in this sport”.

FINA announced a fortnight ago that the Doha World Championships will take place from 2-18 February 2024, about eight weeks before the start of trials season for the Paris Olympics which start in July of that year.

Three-time Olympic champion Adam Peaty – coached by Marshall since he was 14 – and Duncan Scott, the most decorated British athlete at a single Games with four medals at Tokyo 2020, both questioned the decision.

The latter called for it to be reconsidered and moved to 2025 when Kazan is due to stage a worlds, something that is increasingly unlikely to happen given their ban from international sport following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is set to continue indefinitely.

James Guy was unequivocal stating, “I ain’t going”.

Coach Mel Marshall and Adam Peaty London Roar ISL by Mike Lewis D5D_8966

Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

Days later it was announced that Doha would in essence be the Tokyo relay qualification meet with only the first three teams qualifying relays at the Fukuoka worlds next July and the remainder in Qatar in February 2024.

That confirmed the news that had emerged during the World Championships in Budapest where British coach Bill Furniss had called for “sensible talks” with fairness the question given those teams who qualify relays in Japan will have uninterrupted preparation for Paris.

Now Marshall has expressed her concerns at the timing of the World Championships while preparing for the Commonwealth Games – where she is head coach of Team England – before moving on to the Europeans days later in Rome.

She told Swimming World:

“I’m not going to be distracted by any of this that is going on but I am also not going to hide away from the fact that I am disappointed that again the athletes and the governing bodies and the people that really matter in this sport have not been considered.

“If you look at the pressures that they’ve had to face in terms of the squashed programme now, we can be better than that as a sport.

“We can certainly protect our athletes.”

She added:

“I am disappointed with the calendar schedule of that – I would like to have been consulted.

“I think the governing bodies would have liked to have been consulted, I don’t know if anybody has, but the placement of that meet is unfair on athletes, it’s unfair on federations and it’s unfair on the Olympics.

“I make no bones in terms of that – that’s my thoughts on it.

“The consultation process – there needs to be more done and I think that it shouldn’t be set in stone that one.”


Adam Peaty, Mel Marshall and Luke Greenbank: Photo Courtesy: Mel Marshall

As well as Peaty, Marshall has guided Luke Greenbank to Olympic and world medals in the 200m backstroke as well as Jacob Whittle, the 17-year-old who won 4×2 bronze in Budapest.

Of whether she would send any swimmers to Doha, Marshall said:

“That needs to be carefully managed, the landscape of what selections are needed need to be carefully managed.

“That’s the event that’s been put on the calendar at this point and I think it’s about…… information gathering on what’s the right thing with that event now being on the calendar for the athletes.”

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