Clark still eyeing Olympic glory

Thu, 24 Feb 14:31:00 2011

Saskia Clark insists her Olympic ambition is not sunk - despite partner Sarah Ayton deciding to retire last week.

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Clark has moved quickly to recruit a new partner in the competitive 470 class, selecting former world junior champion Sarah Mills as helm for her London 2012 campaign.

"As soon as Sarah told me of her decision I think I was even more determined to be there on the startline in 2012 and try and achieve what's been a childhood dream," she said.

"There was no time to waste really, so I spent a lot of time talking to people whose opinions I respect, gathering all the bits of information I could, thinking about where my strengths and weakness lay and where the strengths and weakness were of other 470 helms and I decided that Hannah Mills was definitely the person I wanted to go forward with.

"I think our skillsets complement each other quite well. Hannah's been in the 470 for a few years so she hasn't got to learn to sail the boat, she's already one of the fastest helms in certain conditions so we can straight away bang on with the racing and communication side of things and not have to spend time polishing up on sailing a 470 fast.

"She's had a difficult few years trying to find a crew that complements her, but even through that time she's been 100 percent dedicated to wanting to achieve a gold medal for Team GB, and that was the factor for me that I was really looking for. "

But Clark and Mills will have little time to waste in their bid to impress selectors and will start new partnership at April's Princess Sofia Trophy in Majorca, part of the ISAF World Cup series.

"2012 was always on my horizon, even it if was maybe a bit of a long way away," said Mills.

"Now sailing with Saskia it's definitely that step closer - we're both revved up and fully up for it and we'll both do everything we can to make a possible become a probable.

"So far it's all going really well, we seem to complement each other pretty well on the water and we both have good input for the other one, so we're learning all the time and getting better pretty quickly so we're excited.

"We've definitely got a lot to cram in, but with both our experiences and the drive that we have - especially coming into it late, it's a good thing in a way as we definitely won't get stale and we'll be up for it 100 per cent of the way."

More Than The Games / Eurosport

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