Lucas going for golden double

Dorset Echo: SIGHTS ON RIO: Portland’s Helena Lucas SIGHTS ON RIO: Portland’s Helena Lucas

Portland’S Helena Lucas has pledged to go for another gold medal in Rio de Janeiro after a successful London 2012 that she believes took the Paralympics to another level.

The 37-year-old enjoyed a successful summer on the home waters of Wey-mouth and Portland as she won the 2.4mR class with relative ease.

Lucas became the British sailing team’s first-ever Paralympic gold medallist and now wants to top the podium at back-to-back Paralympics.

She said: “I am going to campaign again.

“It would be great to go to Rio and if I can do the double with another gold, that would be awesome.

“No-one in Paralympic sailing has achieved that yet so that would just be a great achievement to go and do.

“I am quite keen for the first couple of years to keep campaigning in the 2.4mR, but also have the opportunity to sail in some other classes.

“I want to expand my sailing and maybe do some tactics on some bigger boats and things like that, then ramp it up the last two years heading to Rio.”

Lucas is in the unusual position of having done both Olympic and Para-lympic campaigns, switching to the 2.4mR nine years ago – a class she plans to stick with after the success of London 2012.

“I have thought about an Olympic campaign,” she said. “I had kind of pondered that, but I just have such a fantastic team behind me in the 2.4mR.

“I have great coaches, great support staff and have done great development with the boat – and there is still more to come. It kind of seems a shame to throw that all away and not continue.

“There was a bit of a distraction with the Olympic classes but I am really happy sailing in the 2.4mR.

“The way the British public reacted to the Games means I kind of feel a Paralympic medal has the same worth as an Olympic medal, which in past Games I haven’t felt.

“That is why I have had that desire to go back and do Olympic classes before, but I think the way the Paralympics were embraced this time around has laid that ghost to rest.

“I am really happy to stay in the 2.4mR and the Paralympic classes and hopefully do the double with another gold medal in Rio.”

Lucas’ Paralympic success has not gone unnoticed and she has been announced on the shortlist for the 2012 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

Four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie is one of five nominees in the men’s category, while Lucas – along with young British RS:X sailor Saskia Sills – is on the four-strong women’s shortlist.

Lucas said: “It is the second time I got nominated after 2006 when it was for a test event I did in China when I sailed the yngling.

“I am really excited about being nominated again. My husband said after I got the gold ‘ah, I bet you get nominated for ISAF Sailor of the Year’.

“I was like ‘nah’ so he was the one that I thought I would and we had a bit of a giggle when it got announced. It would be great if we could get a British one-two with Ben.”

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