by Matt Carter
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition 470 Women's Medal Race is to be held on Friday 10th August. Double Olympic silver medallist Joe Glanfield, coach to 470 Women sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, believes the girls have really 'risen to the occasion' as they prepare to go for London 2012 gold at Weymouth and Portland tomorrow.
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) competing in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy (470) event in The London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Mills and Clark, who weren’t even sailing together until 18 months ago, have definitely secured a medal and, because of the way points are calculated, are guaranteed at least silver if they can simply sail a clean race and not get disqualified.
However, tied neck-and-neck on 33 points with New Zealand going into tomorrow’s double points’ medal race gold is the target for Mills and Clark, the 2012 470 Women’s World Champions.
Three-time Olympian Glanfield won Olympic 470 Men’s silver medals with Nick Rogers at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. Now he believes the girls are ready to add the Olympic crown to their World title.
Glanfield said: 'The girls have been very consistent and really risen to the occasion of the Olympics. All their preparation has paid off. They started to show at the Worlds how consistent they can be and they just carried that on event after event.
'They sail the boat well and they manage to do that while they are in tight situations with other boats. But what they have also really developed is they stay in logical mode. They don’t panic and get emotional so they still spot the opportunities.
'They will be delighted to be in this situation, they will love the opportunity to race the Kiwis and try to get that gold medal. I think you always have to be realistic. It’s one 30 minute race; the Kiwis have sailed brilliantly so it could go either way. But they are certainly ready for this situation, we have prepared for it, and I think they can feel they can give a good representation of themselves.'
The winner takes all scenario on the Nothe spectator course at Weymouth and Portland potentially lends itself to the Kiwi and British boats sailing their own race within a race and ignoring the rest of the fleet. But Joe believes that will not necessarily be the case.
He added: 'They will obviously have their eyes on the Kiwis but because it can be so shifty [on that course] you always have to know what’s going on with the wind and know when you’ve just got to race your own race.
'I think they are delighted to have a medal, I could see relief in their faces. That is why it’s quite good to have a day in between yesterday and the medal race because it just gives them the chance to get over the first hurdle and then really concentrate on winning gold, which is what we all want.'
The 470 Women’s medal race is scheduled for 1pm tomorrow (Friday 10 August). The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.
RYA London Olympics website