‘Unsung hero’ Anthony Peden excited ahead of Rio Olympic challenge

Anthony Peden (Photosport)
Anthony Peden (Photosport)

Anthony Peden is as excited for August's Rio Olympics as his athletes.

NZ's men's team sprint coach will take the trio of Ethan Mitchell, Sam Webster and Eddie Dawkins to the games with the double world champions favourites for gold.

"It's just an amazing privilege" says Peden.  "I pinch myself daily that I'm in the situation of leading a team so special into a pinnacle event like the games."

A former World Championship silver medallist himself, Peden took over as sprint coach in 2013 following the departure of Justin Grace.

But rather than a disruption, the change signalled the best of results.

"It's like he's on the back of our seat when we're on the track" says Mitchell.  "And for us there's a feeling of trust as well, of the trust in him and to know that he loses sleep over training sessions.  He's pretty much riding the bike with us and he feels everything we feel.

"He's an unsung hero because he doesn't like getting in front of the camera and that but he truly is the best thing that's happened to us as a team."

With Peden's direction the men's sprinters have won Commonwealth Games gold and five world championship medals including world titles in 2014 and 2016.  Only a relegation in the final in 2015 stopped them from making it three in a row.

"We've been consistently for the last three years the fastest team in the world and the guys are improving towards PBs every week, every phase.  I won't put a ceiling on how far we can go but I know there's more to come."