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Ben expects Finn fight
TRIPLE Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie has revealed it is ‘a bit of a frustration’ for him that everyone presumes he will easily claim a fourth victory.
Britain’s most successful sailor, who has claimed three gold medals and a silver at the past four Olympic Games, could beat a 52-year-old record held by Danish sailor Paul Elvstrom this summer if he wins on home waters.
He told a press conference at the borough’s Olympic sailing venue he tries not to think about the stakes at hand.
When asked how he felt about being the bookies favourite to win, with 10-1 odds to sail into the record books – statistics likened to being like Manchester United playing a non-league team, Ainslie, 35, said: “It’s not like that.
“It’s a bit of a frustration for me personally, when people say you’re the favourite in the Olympics . The standard of the Olympics really is so much higher.
“All the sailors out there have spent four years of their life trying to get to their peak for the Olympics.
“In my class there’s 10 to 12 other guys who can on any day go out and win an Olympics.”
He added: “The Paul Elvstrom record is something I don’t think about too much, it comes up a lot.
“Really in sailing there are so many great sailors across the different classes, from my own perspective I just focus on my own job and trying to do well at this event.”
Ainslie’s Finn heavyweight dinghy fleet will be one of the first sailing classes to start the Olympic sailing regatta tomorrow, with a 12pm start scheduled for the Nothe course.
The first Elliott 6m Match Racing event, in which Poole trio Lucy Macgregor, Kate Macgregor and Annie Lush will be competing in the Round Robin events is also set to get underway on the same course.
At 1.30pm, the Finn class will have another race on the Weymouth Bay West course and there will be two races in the Star keelboat fleet where defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson of Sherborne, will be looking to get off to a good start.
They are up against Brazilian great and Ainslie’s former nemesis Robert Scheidt, who pipped them to the post at the Star World Championships in May.
Olympic gold medallist Simpson, 35, said: “We’ve got some legends in the sport of sailing in our class, the Brazilians and Polish could say they expect to win.
“But if you go in thinking that, you might come unstuck, we’ve got a very good opportunity to be in the top couple of boats if we sail well.”
Match Racing crew Annie Lush added: “Because of the nature of our event, a couple of weeks ago the Finnish team, who previously didn't qualify, won the World Championships and before that the Australian team won Sail for Gold when they hadn’t been on the podium much before.
“There’s going to be a massive battle and whoever is fired up is going to come out ahead.
“We’ve prepared for that. I hope it’s us.”
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