Trials continue for Ainslie
The duo won bronze for Skandia Team GBR at the ISAF World Championships in Cascais in July, and aim to combine their quest for Olympic gold in China next year with sailing for Team Origin in the bid to bring the 33rd America’s Cup back home to the UK in 2009.
For 31-year-old Percy, Beijing will mark his third Olympic Games after winning gold in the Finn class at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, and then finishing sixth with Steve Mitchell in the Star class in Athens four years later. Although a hugely successful sailor on the Olympic Classes circuit, Beijing would represent the 30-year-old Andrew Simpson’s first Olympic Games, having narrowly missed out in the Finn class to Percy in 2000 and Ben Ainslie in 2004.
Percy and Simpson’s nomination follows productive discussions between the RYA, Team Origin and the sailors to ensure that these top teams in British performance sailing work in partnership to ensure mutual success and to develop a strong, well respected and successful sport in the UK.
In the Finn class, the RYA Olympic Selection Committee has decided to continue the Olympic Trials, which will see double Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and world number three Ed Wright shortlisted to compete for the single British spot in the heavyweight dinghy category for Beijing 2008.
The trials in the Finn class will continue with events to include the Sydney International Regatta in December and, if required, the Finn Gold Cup in January in Melbourne, and the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma (ESP) and French Olympic Sailing Week at Hyeres (FRA), both in April 2008. The RYA Olympic Selection Committee reserves the right to disregard results of individual regattas if they deem the fleet quality inadequate for a Trials regatta.
“As experienced campaigners and having had such a successful year since joining forces in the Star class, we’re pleased to be able to nominate Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson to the BOA to compete in Qingdao next year,” said Chris Atkins, Chairman of the RYA’s Olympic Selection Committee.
“We’re also looking forward to the continuation of the trials in the Finn class, where our two World Class sailors Ben Ainslie and Ed Wright will have the opportunity to race against each other for the first time since the start of the RYA’s Olympic trials process for Beijing.”
The RYA Olympic Selection Committee has also determined the events which will form the continuing Trials in the Laser Radial class. The shortlisted four of Andrea Brewster, Penny Clark, Charlotte Dobson and Lizzie Vickers will be tested at the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta in January and, if required, the Laser Radial World Championship at Takapuna (NZL) in March and the French Olympic Sailing Week at Hyeres (FRA) in April.
As with the Finn class, the RYA Olympic Selection Committee reserves the right to disregard the results of individual regattas if they deem the fleet quality inadequate for a Trials regatta.