SAVANNAH Marshall has swapped the chill winds of her beloved Hartlepool for the sunshine of Spain – but it’s no holiday.
The boxing star is beginning the countdown to the 2016 Olympic Game in Rio de Janeiro.
I have done one Olympics and I’m only 24 so I think there are another two more Olympic cycles in meSAVANNAH MARSHALL
It does not seem like five minutes ago that Marshall was crashing out of London 2012 after starting the tournament as reigning world champion and favourite for gold.
But the next games are exactly 15 months away – starting in Brazil on August 5, 2016.
Marshall starts her build-up in Spain this week when she represents her country at Boxam 2015.
The 24-year-old is on the comeback trail at the international tournament at Cartagena, near Alicante, coming back from her early World Championship exit in Korea and also from surgery on a hand injury.
Marshall will be warming up for the European Games next month in Baku, where the best athletes on the continent will be competing in 20 sports in the Azerbaijan capital.
The Headland ABC star will be going there looking to get on the medal podium and this week’s competition in Spain will be vital to her preparations.
“It’s crazy to think the Olympics are only 15 months away,” Marshall told SportMail.
“The time has gone so quickly.
“I have done one Olympics and I’m only 24, so I think there are another two more Olympic cycles in me.
“I’m still learning all the time and I think I can get better.
“I would be 29 for the 2020 games and, if I am still up there [at the top], then I’d like to go for that too.
“But it’s Rio which is my ambition and what I need to be build towards.
“The European Games are next month which look likes being a big tournament.
“My hand has healed, I’ve come through the rehab stage when I’ve been strengthening my forearm and wrists.
“I had been entered for the ABAs [last month] but that was too soon for me to be fighting again.
“But the extra couple of weeks has helped me and I’m ready for Spain.
“I’m not sure who is going to be there in my division, but I’m just looking forward to fighting again.”
Marshall has not fought since her elimination at the worlds last year.
It will be a big ask for her to come back and win gold straight away, given a five-month-plus inactivity.
But the former world number one has done it before.
After the disappointment of London 2012, Marshall went on a gold run, winning the European Union Championship, World Combat Games and then the Commonwealth Games.
“I was unbeaten in 14 fights before the worlds,” she said. “It didn’t come together for me there for whatever reason.
“I want to get boxing again to put that behind me, I just want to look forward now.”
Marshall and her team-mates arrived in Spain last night.
The tournament will open today, with the weigh-in and draw this morning, with the preliminary round due to start at 5pm.
Boxam 2015 is due to conclude on Saturday.