At the London 2012 Paralympics, Helena Lucas insists she is ready for the 'scrap' after a mixed second day at Weymouth and Portland. Overnight leader Lucas now sits in bronze medal position after four races and scores of third and 11th in her two races today enabling Germany’s Heiko Kroger and Thierry Schmitter (NED) to leapfrog her into the gold and silver medal spots.
Helena Lucas - London 2012 Paralympics
Redhill-raised Lucas opened her day confidently, with her first race third maintaining her position at the top of the leaderboard.
But the second race didn’t quite go according to plan as the Portland-based sailor once again got away from the start line well but then had to complete two penalty turns for rocking the boat on the second leg. This saw Lucas get caught in the middle of the pack and end the race in 11th, dropping her back to bronze medal position overall.
After the next race – race five overall – the sailors can eliminate their worst score of the regatta, meaning, providing Lucas has a solid result in the next race she can lose 11 points from her running total, which could propel her back towards the top medal places.
She said: 'I had a great first race and got a third in that, and could maybe have won it, so I was pretty happy with that. Then second race I was going alright, it was all pretty tight at the top and I was having a cracking run and then I got pinged for ‘rocking’ so I did my 720 penalty, which put me back in the pack.
'I did manage to pick off one place but it was pretty hard to get back into it after that. That was a bit of a disappointment because I think that would have been another solid result. I’d rather not have my discard on the second day but never mind. I was really happy with my speed upwind and downwind today.'
Lucas got off the start line well in today’s opening race, flitting between second and third going up the first leg and rounding the mark in second place, just three seconds behind race leader Damien Seguin (FRA). In an unbelievably tight fleet she did drop as low as sixth as just 20 metres covered the top six boats and also enjoyed a short stint leading the race. In another nail-biting sprint to the line she finally crossed in third, only four seconds behind race winner, Thierry Schmitter (NED), and with all boats in the top nine covered by 20 seconds.
However, having rounded the first mark in eighth in race two, she was required to complete the 720 degree penalty, which saw her drop to 14th. Lucas couldn’t quite claw her way back up into the top 10 following that.
She added: 'Damien and Thierry were always going to be one of the main contenders. I also knew if Paul (Tingley) and Heiko got their act together they could get in the mix and that’s exactly what they have done. I was hoping they wouldn’t! They hadn’t had a brilliant year but it looks like they have brought it together for this regatta. It’s going to be a scrap at the front so I’ve just got to keep fighting.'
The London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta runs from Saturday 1st September and Thursday 6th September.
Racing is scheduled to resume at 11am tomorrow. Two races are scheduled per day for each class except on the final day when there will be one race.
London 2012 Paralympic website