No stone unturned for Team GB

Britain's sailors are winding up for the Olympic Games

Tuesday August 5th 2008, Author: Lindsey Bell, Location: United Kingdom
After three days of rest and relaxation at their holding camp in Shanghai, Team GB’s sailors are fighting fit and will be raring to go when they head back to Qingdao on Tuesday (5 August) ready for the start of the Olympic sailing competition on Saturday (9 August).

Team Manager Stephen Park, who’s described his charges as the ‘best ever’ sailing line-up for GBR at an Olympic Games, says the team’s preparations have been absolute, and they’re confident of being able to handle the varying, challenging conditions which they’ve come to expect at the coastal city of Qingdao.

Team GB’s sailors are targeting four medals from the 11 events to be contested in sailing, with Ben Ainslie look for a third straight gold in the Finn class, and Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb eying up a second consecutive Olympic title in the Yngling class, to share with third crew member Pippa Wilson – the youngest of the British sailors to be competing at the Beijing Games.

“We’re confident going forward to the Games – very confident that we have got a fantastic team, we’ve got a group of sailors who have really left no stone unturned in their quest for success.

“They are prepared, physically, technically and mentally, and so that gives us confidence that we should hopefully have a good Games,” Park explained.

“The four medal target is realistic for us. We could easily win more than that, but equally we could easily win less than that. The margins between winning a medal and not winning a medal are so small,” he continued.

“I don’t think at all that [four medals] is a conservative option – we recently increased our target from three medals to four medals and I think that if we win four medals at this Games I’ll be very happy.”

After outstanding displays at the last two Games, with sailors contributing five medals to the Team GB tally in Sydney and again in Athens, Park is mindful that rival teams will be looking to overtake GBR’s status as the top sailing nation: “Lots of the other teams have been working very, very hard – everyone’s looking to knock us off the podium and there’s no doubt that we’re the team to beat at the moment, so we’re not resting on our laurels at all.”

“It’s going to variable, it’s going to be changeable, it’s certainly going to be interesting – but the way that we look at it is that it’s the same for everyone.

“We’re focussed on the task, our athletes are not about to get distracted and they’re looking forward to some great racing.”

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