Dan Greaves’ decision to stay with long-time coach pays off
19 July 2012
Loughborough University’s London 2012 Paralympic medal hope Dan Greaves was offered the chance to take on a new coach after missing out on a second successive gold medal in Beijing in 2008.
Dan won the gold in the F44/46 discus in Athens four years earlier and was disappointed to finish up with a bronze in Beijing behind gold medallist, American Jeremy Campbell.
So was his coach, Jim Edwards, who will have five throwers he trains at Loughborough at the Paralympics, which start on August 29.
So much so he asked Dan if he wanted to end an association which stretched back to when Dan was just 13.
Dan, 29, a Loughborough university graduate who has also done a Masters degree, insisted on staying with the coach he knew so well and the decision paid dividends with a third world championship triumph last year.
Jim recalled: “We were both annoyed and put a lot of hard work in and won the world championships last year.
“We looked at what we did. As a coach you question yourself. It’s not just the athlete, you are a team. The disappointment is for both of you.
“I sat down with Dan and asked him if he wanted to find a different coach, and he said, ‘no’. He did not think anyone else was on his wavelength and what we did was really good.
“So I said, ‘okay, we have to look at some new strategies and try a get back to the top’.
“That’s what we did. We looked at what we could alter in training and I got some input from some world class coaches, especially (Olympic champion) Gerd Kanter’s coach.
“He helped me and we implemented all those things and it really paid off.
“It’s nice when you are at the top but there’s only one way you can go, and that is down.
“So to stay at the top is difficult. To lose the top slot and fight your way back within two years was really some achievement.”
Dan, 29, from Anstey, won silver in Sydney in 2000 and gold in Athens four years later with a new world record throw of 55.12 metres.
In Beijing he threw 53.04 to finish third behind Campbell (55.08) and Denmark’s Jackie Christiansen (53.26).
However, he bounced back in style at last year’s world championships, avenging the defeat by Campbell, and breaking the world record to boot. He threw 58.98, Campbell finishing second with 53.40.
Dan says the emergence of Campbell as a rival was just what he needed and his triumph in New Zealand was his third world title.
Now he has set his sights on regaining the Olympic title and admits he may have to break the world record again and this time throw over 60 metres, which he has been doing in training.
Jim said: “It’s going to take 60 metres, which we have always planned on.
“Because of Dan the world in his category has driven on. It's like Usain Bolt, since he came along, everyone is saying we need to do something different to keep up with this guy.
“That’s what happened with Dan, he set the ball rolling and people have climbed on board and are pushing now.
“There are some good throwers out there, especially in Dan’s class.
“So you have to rethink, look at what you do and find something different that will make a difference out there in the field.”
Jim says Dan will be ‘there of there abouts’ for gold, adding: “We have won gold once before and we would like to win it again.”
In Birmingham recently he threw a season’s best 57.38m. “That was a good indicator of where we are going, because we have not done a lot of speed work yet,” said Jim.
“Once we get into the element of a bit more speed that should start to pay off.”