Ayton fights for 2010 campaign place
Thursday 22 April 2010
Campaign 2010 for Britain’s Olympic sailing squad, with an embarrassment of riches in some classes, much work to be done in others, has been fraught with difficulty during the flights ban.
Even without three golds and silver man Ben Ainslie, and with double gold medallist Sarah Dempsey (formerly Ayton) learning a new trade, Britain’s most successful medal machine is still the most feared internationally.
Nearly a full squad has assembled in Hyeres, near Toulon, for the first of four World Cup regattas in Europe this weekend. The culmination will be at the 2012 Olympic venue of Weymouth in August, with The Netherlands and Germany in between.
Olympic manager Stephen Park is uncharacteristically relaxed, saying only that this is an opportunity for some to test new equipment, others to build confidence, and yet more to establish reputations. “But we still want to be a force to be reckoned with,” he says.
Many eyes will be on Dempsey as, with crew Saskia Clark, she sets out on the path to a third consecutive Olympic gold, this time in the 470 dinghy.
But the overall dream is to win a medal in each of the 10 sailing events, a target made more difficult as other nations, especially the United States, Holland, France, and, to a more limited extent, Brazil learn all they can from the UK blueprint.
There is also a new blueprint being prepared by the sport’s world governing body, the International Sailing Federation, to improve the way in which sailing is presented at the Olympic Games.
Under the chairmanship of Phil Jones, a Brit who has headed Yachting Australia, its Olympic Commission is expected to present a paper at next month’s mid-year conference in Hungary an outline of how the World Cup regattas – there is also one in Miami – can be expanded to take in Australasia, Asia, and South America to meet IOC aims.
These include opportunities to qualify for a place at the Games closer to home instead of, as now, 70 per cent of the places for 2012 being decided at the World Championship of Sailing at Perth, West Australia, in December 2011.
Jones will also look at the balance between those championships, the world cup series, individual class world championships and, less influentially, the world rankings.
ISAF executive secretary Jerome Pels knows that he has to carry his membership of national authorities with him, but, although he see no immediate threat to sailing’s place in the Olympic Games, he says: “We had better figure out how to be a successful Olympic sport. We cannot afford to be complacent.”
By that he means taking a closer look at how the public can be involved in a ticketed event. When the London Olympic organising committee recently first put ticket opportunities online there were about one million expressions of interest. About 10 per cent. were for sailing.
Jones will be setting out plans for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, but some of his core ideas are likely to be trialled either from next year or 2012.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians