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Dan Greaves determined to seize his opportunity

Dan Greaves determined to seize his opportunity
© Getty Images
The 38-year-old discus thrower won medals in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio.

Discus champion Dan Greaves says the prospect of becoming the first Briton to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games in athletics is fuelling his motivation for Tokyo.

Greaves shares the current record of five with wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson, having stood on the podium in Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio.

The 38-year-old, who was named in Great Britain's squad on Wednesday, may well have missed the Games through injury had they not been pushed back a year and is determined to seize his shot at making history.

"Had you told me back in Sydney in 2000 when I was 18 that I'd go on to be competing 21 years later at my sixth Paralympics, I probably would have laughed in your face," he told the PA news agency.

"To set a record – if I could come away with a medal – would be absolutely fantastic and it's those kind of things that motivate me.

"It's huge motivation and when I saw it, it really gave me a lift. We all strive for the bling around the neck and to get onto the podium."

Greaves initially ruled himself out of competing in Japan in the immediate aftermath of winning bronze at Rio 2016.

A personal best and European record of 63.01m in 2018 helped convince him to reverse that hasty announcement, before the emergence of a painful hip problem the following year almost took the decision out of his hands.

He has subsequently altered his approach to the sport in order to protect his physical health, while he believes a change of coach has been the catalyst for reaching peak condition from a technical perspective.

"My hips play a huge part in my throw and I couldn't do that for a good six, seven months," said Greaves, whose sole Paralympic gold to date came in 2004 in Athens.

"In hindsight it's a good thing the Paralympics got pushed back because I only started throwing in January 2020 and I think it would have been too soon to put in a performance that I know I'm worthy of.

Great Britain's Dan Greaves won silver at London 2012
Great Britain's Dan Greaves won silver at London 2012 (David Davies/PA)

"We've had to really look at my posture and been doing lots of yoga. Sometimes you have to calm things down and admit I'm 38, I can't do something I was doing when I was 25, 26.

"It has actually changed my outlook on how to perform. It's just not sustainable and I want to be able to play with my kids in the future and go to the football and not have a bad back or a bad hip."

On switching coaches to fellow British thrower Zane Duquemin, he added: "I've been in the sport for 21 years and I didn't think I could learn much more about discus but this past 18 months I've been with him I've learnt loads more and feel like I'm probably the best technically I've ever been."

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Jonnie Peacock pictured in July 2017
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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