Sailing: Ainslie's dominance books berth for Olympic defence

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The Independent Online

Ben Ainslie was yesterday officially chosen by the British Olympic Association to defend his title at his fourth Games appearance in China this summer. The double gold and silver medallist had been asked to sail against his rival Ed Wright in what could have been up to four international events, but performed so powerfully in Sydney before Christmas that the selectors stepped in to save Wright from further punishment.

No such mercy will be on offer when Ainslie, also skipper of Britain's stalled America's Cup challenge, takes on the rest of the world in the heavyweight single-handed Finn dinghy. "It's fantastic news," he said as he prepares for another world championship in Melbourne next week.

Also confirmed was the trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson, reigning world champions in the Yngling keelboat, Laser single-hander Paul Goodison, and 2000 gold medallist Iain Percy, now partnered by Andrew Simpson in the Star.

Still to be confirmed in the 470 dinghy are Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield and the pairing of Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark, while Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw contest the world windsurfer championships in Auckland. Trials continue for the women's Laser Radial place in Miami later this month.

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