Cup ideal re­hearsal for Rio

Sail­ing

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So­phie Ainsworth is now un­der two months away from her Olympic dream be­com­ing a re­al­ity and be­lieves this week’s World Cup in Wey­mouth will serve as per­fect prepa­ra­tion.

The Ash­ford sailor, who cel­e­brates her 27th birth­day later this month, learned her craft at Bewl Val­ley Sail­ing Club near Tun­bridge Wells and is part­nered by Char­lotte Dob­son, with the pair tak­ing on the sport’s elite in the World Cup re­gatta in Wey­mouth, which started yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day).

The duo achieved an im­pres­sive fifth place in the women’s 49erFX at the World Cham­pi­onships in Buenos Aires last year and have sub­se­quently been se­lected to make their GB Games de­but in Rio.

Ainsworth be­lieves link­ing up with coach Mark Asquith late last year has helped her So­phie Ainsworth (right) and Char­lotte Dob­son and Dob­son im­mea­sur­ably and in­sists the pair could not be in a bet­ter place.

She said: “Be­fore work­ing with Mark, we def­i­nitely knew we could im­prove be­cause there are al­ways ar­eas that can get bet­ter.

“Be­tween the team we knew that we could do it but it was just putting it into prac­tice – work­ing on the weak­nesses and build­ing on the strengths.

“We just needed to put it all to­gether which is what we’re fo­cus­ing on now.

“This week in Wey­mouth we want to be on the podium. For us this is a prac­tice re­gatta for the Olympics and it is all about the out­come.

“Be­cause this class is so new to the Olympic cy­cle, you can’t call any­one’s form right up to the Olympic Games and there are still two months to go. It is im­por­tant but any­thing can hap­pen.”

While some sports are yet to an­nounce their Rio squads, sail­ing’s pro­vi­sional names were con­firmed last Septem­ber al­though Ainsworth and Dob­son had to wait un­til March for the call.

It still left them five months to pre­pare and Ainsworth has en­joyed the chal­lenge of get­ting ready for the 49erFX event, which will make its Olympic de­but this sum­mer.

“Be­cause it has never been in the Olympics be­fore, there isn’t a set path­way mean­ing you had peo­ple com­ing from laser ra­di­als, from 470s,” said the 26-year-old.

“The 49erFX is such a team dy­namic boat and you’re so de­pen­dent on who you sail with and what your strengths or weak­nesses are, so it’s in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing. I’ve def­i­nitely got the per­fect part­ner in Char­lotte.”

The Na­tional Lot­tery-funded Bri­tish Sail­ing Team is proudly sup­ported by of­fi­cial part­ners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Fol­low the team’s lat­est news and up­dates at british­sail­ingteam.com or on Twit­ter @Bri­tishSail­ing.

Pic­tures: Paul Amos FM4366874, above; FM4366896, left

Above, Ash­ford Town’s Wil­liam Howard and, left, club­mate Jackie Sadler in the match against Ham­street

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