Ed Wright battles illness ahead of Finn class race

 

Fremantle

An eve-of-racing battle with an infected leg was being waged by medics and physiotherapists for defending world champion Ed Wright in Fremantle over the weekend.

A carefully monitored programme of antibiotics on what has been a recurring infection was expected to allow him to open his account tomorrow in what is expected to be a fierce competition between five British competitors in the Finn heavyweight singlehanded dinghy class.

Britain has already selected Ben Ainslie, who has consecutive Olympic gold medal victories in the class, plus silver and gold in the lighter weight Laser in 1996 and 2000, for the team at the Weymouth sailing venue in 2012.

But Wright, current European champion Giles Scott, plus Andrew Mills and Mark Andrews are all hungry to prove a point and Scott insists that Britain’s Olympic sailing manager Stephen Park has given them carte blanche to race each other hard. Ainslie has been Finn world champion five times.

Also starting their race programme tomorrow are the Lasers for women, and the two-handed 470 dinghy for men.  In the 470 Britain has already chosen the rising stars of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the women’s division but is expected to decide at this regatta the men’s pairing. Triple Olympian and double silver medallist Nick Rogers, now crewed by Chris Grube, has mortgaged himself to the tune of £90,000 to hold off the challenges of Nic Asher and Eliott Willis plus Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. Winning with a medal should decide it. Australia’s Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page have their eyes only on gold.

Already up and running is the women’s match racing trio of Lucy Macgregor, sister Kate, and Annie Lush. Despite a wobble, not helped by a 180-degree switch in wind direction, they lost their only match of the day to an Australian team skippered by Olivia Price. But wins against Spain, Denmark and Sweden, with their main rivals also losing at least one race, left them jointly leading Group B with a 3-1 scoreline.  

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When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
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He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
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