Katy Marchant began preparing for Tokyo Olympics a month after Rio

HAVING already trained in the home of the Japanese keirin, Katy Marchant has hopes to claim Tokyo glory in the most unusual bike race in the world at this year’s Olympics.

Katy Marchant of Great Britain wins Gold in the Women’s Keirin in Glasgiow in 2019 (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Katy Marchant of Great Britain wins Gold in the Women’s Keirin in Glasgiow in 2019 (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

A month after winning bronze in her Olympic debut in 2016, Marchant was in Izu – home to the Japan Keirin School and the velodrome where she hopes to win a medal this summer.

The Leeds-born cyclist was taught the skills needed to be a world-class racer in the event, which sees a motorised ‘derny’ bike pace out six riders before they battle for a sprint finish.

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And this summer, Marchant will be in the form of her life, and hopes that’ll be enough for Olympic success.

Katy Marchant in action last year (Picture: PA)

“I have no doubt that I’m going to go the fastest I’ve ever gone [this summer] and if that’s good enough, great, and if it’s not, then so be it,” said the 28-year-old, one of over 1,000 athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme.

“It’s anyone’s game and you can’t control what other people are doing and I just need to make sure that I’m in the best shape possible going forward.

“The Japanese fans are absolutely mad for it.

“Obviously, we’re not one hundred percent sure what it’s going to be like with how many fans are allowed into the velodrome, but it’s massive over there so I do think it will be one of the main events that the Japanese and the locals are looking to support.”

Katy Marchant of Great Britain celebrates winning the Women's Keirin at the Glasgow World Cup (Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com)

Marchant will also be competing in her Rio bronze-medal winning event, the individual sprint, which she claimed just a few years after switching from the heptathlon, having trained alongside Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill.

She said: “I’m good friends still with Jess and she’s always been one of my absolute role models and she’s from Yorkshire, so that’s great!

“For me, a first Olympics was always just a case of experience. Now, I’m a more experienced member of the team and to be heading to my second Olympics, I’m obviously very grateful and really excited.”

Since Rio, Marchant has earned herself a Commonwealth bronze in the team sprint in 2018, and also a keirin win in front of a home crowd in the 2019 Glasgow World Cup.

Marchant’s career on the track has been powered by UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme that allows her to train full-time, access the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support.

Marchant added. “I actually think it’s a nice position to be in to not know what everyone else is doing.

“It’s allowed us to focus solely on ourselves which has been really important, I think.”

No one does more to support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes than National Lottery players, who raise around £30 million each week for good causes. Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has on sport at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtags: #TNLAthletes #TracktoTokyo