Greaves hopes new coach can lead to further success

After 19 years with the same coach, the British discus thrower is now hoping John Godina can lead him to win gold at October’s World Championships. 31 Aug 2015
Dan Greaves of England competes in the Men's F42/44 Discus final at Hampden Park Stadium at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Dan Greaves of England competes in the Men's F42/44 Discus final at Hampden Park Stadium at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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“I know what it takes to win a world title. Everything is going to plan towards October.”

Long distance relationships might not work for everyone, but Great Britain’s world and Paralympic silver medallist Dan Greaves hopes his recent decision to train under the guidance of US-based coach John Godina will take him to the top of the world.

In early August, the 32-year-old Paralympic F44 discus thrower revealed that he and his coach of 19 years, Jim Edwards, were no longer working together. The Loughborough-based athlete needed to find a new coach – and borders and time zones did not limit him.

Greaves joined forces with Godina, the former Olympic medallist and three time world shot put champion who heads up the Altis training centre from his base in the USA. In keeping with 21st century technology, they rely simply on an iPad to keep in touch.

“We do everything via Facetime on the iPad,” explained Greaves. “While coach is having his breakfast at 06.30, I’m throwing at 14.30, and it actually works really well. We’ve got a Bluetooth speaker set up so I can hear him and everything – it’s basically like he’s there.

“Technology makes it so much easier because if we didn’t have that link up then I’d have to go and be based out there full-time. We were a bit curious at first as to how it would work, but it’s actually working out really well.”

Expectations are rightly high for the Briton, who enjoyed a successful season in 2014, winning discus F42/44 gold at the Commonwealth Games, then weeks later the European title – clinched with a new personal best and world lead throw of 62.34m.

This year looked to be starting well too, as Greaves managed his best ever season opener, throwing 59.44m in San Diego in April.

Injury niggles meant he was forced to withdraw from July’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final, but now Greaves believes that, with his new coaching set up around him, he is ready to throw even further.

“I’m hoping that (Godina’s) insight not only as an ex-world class athlete but also now as a world class coach will just have a massive effect on me and my dream to throw over 65 metres and try and push the boundaries of Paralympic sport,” said Greaves, who won world discus F44 gold in 2006 and 2011.

“I haven’t got a long shelf life left as a Paralympian - Rio 2016 will be my fifth Paralympics – so I want to go out with a bang and make history, and I believe that John can take me there.”

First, Greaves will have to get the better of both old and new rivals. While the USA’s reigning world and Paralympic champion Jeremy Campbell has been a thorn in his side since winning Paralympic gold in 2008, Trinidad & Tobago’s recently crowned Parapan Games champion Akeem Stewart provides fresh opposition.

Stewart, an F43 thrower, set a new world record of 63.03m to take gold at the Parapan Games in Canada earlier this month, but Greaves doesn’t let that phase him.

“Me and Jeremy have had a battle over the years to bring it up to 60-62 metre throwing, and for someone else to be in the mix as well it makes the discus very exciting.

“I didn’t know much about (Stewart), or where he’s come from or what he’s done, but it’s very impressive; it’ll just be a case of seeing what he’s like under pressure at a championships.

“I hope we can put on a good show for the crowds and have at least three guys over 60 metres – it just shows how effective we’ve been in developing Paralympic sport.”

As for that 63.03 metre mark, Greaves believes it is well within his reach, while his vast experience on the international stage serves him well.

“I’m always one to be in the best shape of my life when it comes to championships, so I’m going to take great confidence out of last year as well as the things we are working on in the circle.

“I know I’ve got the capability of throwing that distance – 64 metres in my mind isn’t too far off, so we just have to keep focusing on what we can do.”

And despite the recent major changes to his training set up, Greaves remains confident of success at the forthcoming IPC Athletics World Championships, which take place in less than eight weeks’ time.

“I know what it takes to win a world title,” he said. “Everything is going to plan towards October.”

Greaves will be one of 1,400 athletes from 100 countries competing at the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships between 22-31 October.

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