Sailing Paralympics: It's 'game on' for the Sonar team

TOP TRIO: John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas

TOP TRIO: John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas

First published in News

THE British Sonar team insist it is ‘Game on!’ as they sit just four points outside the medal zone at the halfway point of the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta.

The Portland -based trio of John Robertson , Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas said their ‘spirits remained high’ despite a tricky day three on the water.

They started the day confidently with a solid fourth place but admit they did not meet their own high standards in the second race of today, coming 13th.

The three-person keelboat sailors have now completed six races, and so were able to eliminate their worst score of the series, leaving the Brits seventh overall But with everyone bar the Dutch leaders seemingly struggling for consistency in the opening half of the event, Robertson, Stodel and Thomas are determined to keep ‘fighting’ for the silverware.

Stodel, 27, said: “It’s all up and all down with the Australians having a really bad day today, the Norwegians had one bad race one good, the French same again, one bad one good, so I think everyone is facing the same thing, and it’s going to be the same again over the next few days, so there is everything to play for.

“It was an average day, but we are certainly close on the points, with only seven points between silver and seventh, which is mental. We have still got everything to play for, seven points isn’t a lot when you look at what happened today. Game on.”

Thomas, 35, said: “With everyone up and down so it’s just all about keeping sane, keeping logical and keeping on fighting. Our boat speed is good, we are starting well, we just need a break or two and we will be there.”

Robertson added: “It’s tough; it’s a Paralympic Games so it’s not going to be easy.

“We always try our best but it is hard work and we will keep working hard.

“The Dutch boat could have two 12ths tomorrow then we could be right back in the mixer for gold.”

After a two-hour postponement waiting for the breeze to arrive, conditions were light in Portland Harbour, providing the sailors with the double challenge of keeping the boat going fast while contending with big swings in wind direction.

The Brits felt the full force of these fluky conditions in the second race of the day.

Robertson said they ‘just slipped and missed out on the lucky breaks with wind shifts’ and added: “But spirits are high within the team and we back each other 100 per cent.”

The Sonar racing is scheduled to resume at 11am today in Portland Harbour.

Find out more about the team at www.rya.org.uk/london2012

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