GOLD medal hopeful Savannah Marshall set off on her Olympic adventure today with the hopes of a town behind her.
The 21-year-old spent the weekend at the family home in the Dyke House area of town, before heading off to the Olympic Village to join thousands of other athletes from across the globe ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.
The middleweight was given a rousing send-off by friends and family who had gathered for a farewell party yesterday, and was inundated with good luck messages as she set off for London.
Savannah, who goes into the Games as one of Great Britain’s gold medal hopefuls after being crowned as World Champion back in May, has repeatedly refused to talk to anyone about her chances during the sporting extravaganza.
But dad John Marshall could not hide his pride as she set off for London.
John, 52, a roofer said: “I said I was the proudest dad in the world when Savannah won the World Championships in May.
“But to see your daughter heading off to the Olympics with a real chance of winning a medal, then words cannot really explain how that feels.
“This is what she has worked for. She started boxing when she was 12, she sacrificed so much and has always been focused on getting to the Olympics.
“Obviously we knew she was going to the Games when she won the Worlds, but now when you see her with her kit packed in the bags, you realise this is it.
“People have been sending us all sorts of messages wishing her good luck, but she seems to be taking it all in her stride.”
Savannah will settle into the Olympic Village over the next few days, while her family will head south early next month to cheer her on from ringside.
John added: “We’ve got all the tickets sorted, and we’re really looking forward to it.
“We’ll keep in touch over the next few days, but we will just be trying to let her focus on her training.
“It will be a great experience for all of us, everyone is talking about the Olympics and we are all looking forward to being a part of it.
“Hopefully the next party we have for her in Hartlepool, she’ll have a gold medal around her neck.”
Savannah’s mum Christine Dee, a 52-year-old foster carer, had a tear in her eye as she said her goodbyes.
Christine said: “She knows how proud we are of her, and it was quite an emotional moment saying goodbye to her.
“I was like as nervous wreck when she was boxing in the World Championships, so godness knows what I’ll be like watching her in the Olympics!
“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed she can do well, I know how hard she has worked to get this far and she deserves success.
“She has always kept her feet on the ground and takes things in her stride, but she really does appreciate the messages she has had and it gives her a boost to know she has so much support behind her.”