Clark completes Team GBR Olympic sailing line-up

by RYA 
Radial - Penny Clark (GBR)
© Rolex / Dan Nerney

Royal Naval Officer Penny Clark has earned the nod for the British Laser Radial berth for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, with her official selection today, along with eight other sailors, by the British Olympic Association completing the British sailing team line-up for the 2008 Games.

Sailing is the first British sport to have completed its team for the Beijing Games with Clark, plus RS:X windsurfers Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw, the 470 men’s and women’s crews of Nick Rogers-Joe Glanfield and Christina Bassadone-Saskia Clark and Tornado duo Leigh McMillan and Will Howden, all officially named today as members of ‘Team GB’ – the BOA’s team for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, which could ultimately comprise 300 athletes competing across 22 sports at the Games in August.

These nine sailors join Ben Ainslie (Finn), Sarah Ayton-Sarah Webb-Pippa Wilson (Yngling), Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes (49er), Paul Goodison (Laser) and Iain Percy-Andrew Simpson (Star), who all had their RYA nominations ratified in January, to complete the list of Team GB sailors for the 2008 Games.

The 32-year-old Penny Clark earned her call-up following an extended trials process for the Laser Radial class in which she and Andrea Brewster, Charlotte Dobson and Lizzie Vickers were all vying for the single British berth in the class.

A bronze medallist in the Olympic waters of Qingdao at the 2006 Test Event, Clark earned her nomination by the RYA’s Olympic selectors after having performed most consistently, and having delivered the best overall results, during the second stage of the selection process which began at the 2007 ISAF World Championships and went onto include Miami Olympic Classes Regatta and the 2008 Laser Radial World Championships.

'I’m really happy to have been selected, but for me it’s just another hurdle towards the end goal, which has always been to get on that podium in China,' explained Clark.

'I think the trials process for us has been really important preparation for China, and has actually been a good experience,' she continued. 'There was lots of pressure on me heading into the Worlds as I felt the trials were mine to lose after Miami. Learning how to sail under pressure and still delivering a result at the Worlds has shown that I can carry it off – and working with the girls and training as a squad has played a big part in that.'

Stephen Park, RYA Olympic Manager and sailing’s Team Leader for the Beijing Games said: 'We’re delighted to be able to welcome Penny into the RYA’s list of nominated sailors, and to have today finalised our team for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

'The RYA selectors have been impressed by the level of competition in the Laser Radial trials, where all four girls have pushed themselves, working together and individually, to get the best for themselves and to increase Great Britain’s chances of winning a medal at the 2008 Games.

'The clock is ticking ever faster now as we enter the final phase of our Games preparations, and having now completed our line-up of sailors for Beijing, the team as a whole is focussing fully on delivering the goods in China, where we hope we can do the nation proud once again.'

Sailors selected for Team GB:

Laser Radial (women’s one person dinghy)
Penny Clark

RS:X Men (men’s windsurfer)
Nick Dempsey

RS:X Women (women’s windsurfer)
Bryony Shaw

470 Men (men’s two person dinghy)
Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield

470 Women (women’s two person dinghy)
Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark

Tornado (multihull)
Leigh McMillan and Will Howden

Previously selected:

Finn class (heavyweight dinghy)
Ben Ainslie

Yngling class (women’s keelboat)
Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson

49er class (skiff)
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes

Laser class (men’s one person dinghy)
Paul Goodison

Star class (men’s keelboat)
Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson