Going for gold

SELECTED: Alison Young

SELECTED: Alison Young

First published in Other sport

GREAT Britain’s sailing team head to London 2012 with better medal prospects than ever before, according to team leader Stephen Park.

Britain are the most successful nation in Olympic sailing history, having accrued more gold medals than any other nation and topped the medal table at the last three.

They have completed their line-up for this summer’s Games, with the announcement of the final three sailor selections.

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes will represent TeamGB in the 49er class and Alison Young in the Laser Radial, while Helena Lucas joins the ParalympicsGB ranks in the one-person 2.4mR event.

RYA Olympic manager and sailing team leader Park is delighted by the calibre of sailors at his disposal and is confident of a successful summer.

“Performances over the past 12 months have been particularly good,” he said.

“We have an incredibly competitive team and we have a team now able to win medals at 2012.

“All of the work in the background is looking good and we look to be in a strong position.

“We’re going to have to be in the strongest position for the most competitive event of our lives because there is absolutely no doubt that every other country is trying to win those medals.

“It is more competitive than ever in the world of Olympic sailing and we’ll have to give our best in every aspect of our game if we really want to hit our targets and bring home some medals for Britain.”

He added: “As we go into the Games, I can honestly say hand on heart that we’ve got people who’ve got the potential to medal in every single event. We’ve never had that before.

“That doesn’t mean to say that we’ll medal in every event – far from it – but in terms of preparing a good team, the sailors have done an incredible job.”

This summer will be Laser Radial sailor Young’s Olympic debut and she receives the nod after narrowly missing out on the medals at the recent French World Cup regatta in Hyeres.

Lucas will be looking to improve on her seventh-place finish in the 2.4mR event at Beijing 2008, while the experience of China will also spur on Morrison and Rhodes.

The 49er duo finished ninth on their Olympic debut four years ago after being tipped as potential medallists, so are keen to make amends on home waters.

“You wouldn’t do the sport if you didn’t think you could do the job or had the potential to,” Morrison said.

“We have often felt the longer you have got to prepare the better and it is kind of a relief and a great opportunity that it is done.

“We have been sailing well since Ben returned from injury at the end of February and we have seen some real improvements in our sailing.

“It is kind of putting all those pieces together I think and if that happens on the day then we can make something pretty special happen at the Games.”

Rhodes, Morrison, Young and Lucas are the final additions to the British team for the Olympics and Paralympics.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie will represent TeamGB in the Finn class, Paul Goodison will be the Laser representative and Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson will race in the Star class.

Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw are the selections for the male and female RS:X events respectively, while Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell team up for the men’s 470.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are the women’s 470 representatives, while Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor will compete in the women’s match racing event.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell will represent ParalympicsGB in the SKUD class, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas have been chosen for the Sonar event.

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