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Sprint specialist Ben aiming for memorable moment to make his family proud

As the countdown to the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games edges ever closer, we focus on the English athletes who will be travelling to Japan.

Ben Proud says the desire to achieve a memorable moment for his family is driving him on in his quest to become a successful Olympian.

The sprint specialist finished fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 50m Freestyle – finishing in 21.68 seconds to miss out on a podium spot by 0.19 seconds.

He heads into the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with a ‘second burst of energy’ after suffering several setbacks last year through illness and injury – and is ‘excited’ about the challenge ahead.

Proud said in an interview with Ourdaily: “I missed out on so much as a late teenager and early adult and it was just a reminder that I wanted to achieve something to make these 10 years worthwhile and memorable.

  • Date of Birth: 21/9/1994
  • Club: Plymouth Leander
  • Olympic record: Competed at Rio 2016 Games.

“I’m doing this for a reason – to do something that my family can be proud of and I can finish my career as a successful Olympian.

“I have a really good chance to rewrite the story and to start again. 

“Last season I did not have the best season. I had a few injuries, a few illnesses, a few setbacks. 

“The thing you learn as an athlete is you always have to jump back up and start again.

“It’s given me a second burst of energy because now I’m excited to do this all over again.”

London-born Proud spent almost 17 years living in Malaysia before returning to the UK as his swimming career took off.

It was after the Rio Olympics that he then moved to a training base in Turkey.

“I had a vague memory of when I was seven years old I was watching the Olympics and I said to my parents that I want to be at the Olympics one day,” said the 26-year-old.

Focus

“When I was 15, I met a coach, Travis Kiu, and he took me under his wing and said I had got some talent and I could become National Champion of Malaysia if I worked with him for a year. 

“Sure enough, over that span of one year, I won the Malaysian National Open at 16. Four months later, I was on the plane to the UK to start my career.

“Coming fourth [at Rio], I realised it’s going to take another level of dedication which meant leaving my current life at the time and moving to Turkey. 

“Everyday I focus on what needs to be done. Everything just becomes easy and time flies and you end up learning to love this life you are in because it’s so exciting.

“I have spent the past 10 years working to drop from 23 to 22 to 21 and I have spent the past four years working to become half a second faster. 

“Half a second… it’s difficult to hit that on a stopwatch. It’s almost as if time slows down in this strange world for that 21 seconds and before you know it you touch your hand on the wall and you’re done.

“Twenty-one seconds in everyday life is nothing but to me, when it comes to swimming, 21 seconds is essentially almost my entire life.”

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