Loughborough Echo

Greenbank ‘over the moon’ after historic bronze


LUKE Greenbank questioned the legitimacy of the 200m backstroke final after a doping war of words broke out at the Olympic Games, writes Charlie Bennett of Sportsbeat in Tokyo.

The 23-year-old swimmer won bronze behind Russia’s Evgeny Rylov and USA’s Ryan Murphy but the biggest headline came from the press conference.

In his post-race interview, silver medallist Murphy alleged the race was “probably not clean” – referencin­g Russia’s state-sponsored doping programme that saw them hit with a two-year internatio­nal sport ban.

Russian athletes who have proven they were not involved are allowed to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee name.

And Greenbank, who trains at Loughborou­gh University, agreed it has left a sour taste, though neither he nor Murphy mentioned Rylov by name.

‘It’s obviously a very difficult situation not knowing whether who you are racing against is clean,” he said.

“It is something that is part of the sport. And more needs to be done to tackle that.”

Rylov categorica­lly denied he’s doping and Greenbank has refused to let the saga detract from his happiness with a bronze medal at his first Olympic Games.

He reached the 50m mark in second place behind Rylov – who led from start to finish – and was overtaken by Murphy before halfway.

However, he comfortabl­y held off USA’s Bryce Mefford for bronze and punched the air at the end, as he became Team GB’s first ever 200m backstroke medallist.

It was also the first men’s backstoke medal for Great Britain at any distance since the 1908 London Olympics.

“I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet though I am sure it will,” said Greenbank.

“I am over the moon with that, the race was a really good one. The main feeling is relief, just to come here and swim close to my best and get a medal is a dream come true.

“It would be great to go faster every time I swim but it doesn’t work like that.

“I stuck to my race strategy, I knew what I was doing going into the race and to hit another 1:54 is another win.

“It is quite a big occasion and I try not to let the nerves get the better of me, I tend to swim best when I have a cool head and I know what I am doing.

“Here, it is all about positions rather than times and it is a very unique situation whereby we have finals in the morning so it is not comparable.

“I am happy with the time and the race.”

 ??  ?? CELEBRATIO­N: Luke Greenbank in action and with his bronze medal
CELEBRATIO­N: Luke Greenbank in action and with his bronze medal

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