Martin Gough |

Preparing for the Tokyo Paralympics in a pandemic

The complementary skills of coaches Tom Dyson and Nick Baker are part of what makes Great Britain the team to beat at the Paralympic Games at the end of August. Martin Gough spoke to them as they made their final preparations

If you see Great Britain’s Paralympic coaches Tom Dyson and Nick Baker celebrating a little early beside Tokyo’s Sea Forest Waterway at the end of August, it may be because they have already achieved a goal by getting there, after 18 months of the COVID pandemic.

“We’ve joked with the rowers that they might not see us celebrating after the race, but they’ll see us celebrating when we push them off for the final!” says lead coach Dyson, preparing for his fourth Games with the GB team. “It’s been the hardest that I’ve done so far.

“If we put the guys on the start-line healthy, ready and they give a performance they can be proud of, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Athletes and coaches have been in a bubble since returning to training under lockdown conditions last September, at British Rowing’s training base at Caversham near Reading.

“What the guys have had to give up to allow training to happen, and keep themselves safe has been phenomenal,” says Baker. “We can’t get anywhere near COVID – it would be the end of our Games.

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