Cup ideal rehearsal for Rio
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.
Above, Ashford Town’s William Howard and, left, clubmate Jackie Sadler in the match against Hamstreet