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Sail-World.com : London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition - Australian team finalised
London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition - Australian team finalised

'Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell in Perth - London 2012 Olympic Games'    Alex McKinnon

London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition is being held in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain, from 29th July to 12th August. Australia will head out onto the seas of Weymouth with a star studded team determined to become Australia’s most successful sailing Olympians in history when competition kicks off at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The team was finalised today with the addition of Olympic gold medallists Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell (470), recent Hyeres World Cup winner Brendan Casey (Finn), Krystal Weir (Laser Radial) and the Women’s Match Racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty.

The total sailing team now stands at 13 members, with selections already taken place for five-time Laser world champion Tom Slingsby, 49er world champions Nathan Outerridge and Iain Jensen, 470 world champions Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page and two time former world champion Jessica Crisp in the RS:X who will be competing at her fourth consecutive Olympic Games.

Beijing gold medallist Elise Rechichi will have the chance to defend her 470 title in London, after coming out of retirement and teaming up with Sydney 2000 gold medallist Belinda Stowell who also came out of retirement for another shot at Olympic glory.

'Defending gold for anyone is a huge task and a real challenge, there are no guarantees at an Olympics, second, third, fourth time around,' 26-year-old Rechichi said.

'Going into this Games I probably understand a bit better what it took to be successful in China but things have moved forward in the last four years and there is a different recipe for success now.

'I’ve had quite a different campaign, last time it was a long slog over four years and for London it’s been quite short and the reality is there’s a lot of pressure going back as defending champion and we’re taking it one step at a time.'

Belinda Stowell is relishing the opportunity to compete at an Olympic Games for the first time since Athens in 2004.

'It’s the pinnacle of our sport and the racing at the Olympics is something that’s quite different to all the other racing that we do,' said Stowell. 'Being the pinnacle of the sport it’s the most amazing experience to be able to race and test yourself in that environment.'

After just a few weeks together, Rechichi and Stowell placed ninth at the 2011 World Championships, qualifying Australia the 470 women’s spot for London and proving that despite their limited preparation they will be a force to be reckoned with in Weymouth.

Olivia Price of Australia competes during the Womens Match Racing Group B Heat of the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia - London 2012 Olympic Games -  Paul Kane -Perth 2011  

All but one member of the now 13-strong sailing team, its youngest in 19-year-old Olivia Price, has at least one world championship to their name and all could bring home a medal as they look to eclipse Australia’s best sailing performance at a single Olympic Games - two gold, a silver and a bronze achieved in Sydney.

Bringing some youthful exuberance to the team, Price will skipper the Elliott 6m crew alongside Lucinda Whitty (22) and Nina Curtis (24). A new discipline for 2012, match racing is set to be one of the most exciting events of the Olympic regatta.

'Everyone has said it is a massive show so I’m really looking forward to the whole experience,' Price said.

'It’s going to be a good thing that we are in Weymouth [three hours south of London]. There are less distractions and it is slightly smaller and not as intense.'

The team has been campaigning all over the world and know that the last few months will be vital to a successful debut Olympics.

'We have built a strong base this year and we are excited to get back overseas and keep building on those results,' said Curtis, who alongside fellow crew member Whitty won the 2009 Match Racing World Championships.

Despite some early success in their careers, the girls know the status the Olympic Games has in world sport, in particular sailing.

'Ever since I was young I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics so it is really exciting. It is definitely going to be a lot of fun,' said Whitty.

'You just have to pinch yourself sometimes. It has been a whirlwind for the past couple of months and we’re really excited,' said Curtis.

Krystal Weir after winning in Holland - London 2012 Olympic Games -  Sander van der Borch ©   Click Here to view large photo

Krystal Weir will compete in the Laser Radial and is heading to her second Olympic Games after competing in the three-person Yngling class in 2008.

'The Laser Radial is the class I’ve been sailing in for the past 12 years, I developed all my skills in this class and got into the Yngling six months before the last Games,' said Weir. 'Beijing was an amazing experience and invaluable to my sailing skills now, it taught me how to work within a team and how important communication is.

'My second campaign has been an entirely different experience as I said I would never go to an Olympics to make up the numbers, I’m going to the Games to come home with a medal,' she said.

Brendan Casey on his way to victory in Hyeres - London 2012 Olympic Games -  Thom Touw_©  

Brendan Casey has qualified in the Finn class and is on his way to his first Olympic Games after many years of campaigning.

'It’s been a long journey to reach London 2012,' he said. 'Personally it’s satisfying to be here, it’s a great reward for a long dedication to the sport and it’s also a great reward for those who have supported me during my sailing career.

'To compete at an Olympics is a great honour and it brings a great deal of personal satisfaction to make it to the ultimate level of sport and I’m really looking forward to each race,' said Casey.

All athletes are currently at the Olympic course in Weymouth where competition kicks off today in the Sail for Gold Regatta.

Name

Event

Age at Games

Born

Lives

Lucinda Whitty

Elliott 6m

22

Sydney, NSW

Sydney, NSW (2066)

Olivia Price

Elliott 6m

19

Sydney, NSW

Sydney, NSW (2047)

Nina Curtis

Elliott 6m

24

Sydney, NSW

Sydney, NSW (2107)

Krystal Weir

Laser Radial

27

Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne, VIC (3186)

Brendan Casey

Finn

35

Sydney, NSW

Gold Coast, QLD (4217)

Belinda Stowell

470

41

Harare, Zimbabwe

Perth, WA

Elise Rechichi

470

26

Perth, WA

Perth, WA (6011)

Previously selected

Mathew Belcher

470

29

Gold Coast, QLD

Gold Coast, QLD (4218)

Malcolm Page

470

40

Sydney, NSW

Sydney, NSW (2099)

Nathan Outteridge

49er

26

Newcastle, NSW

Lake Macquarie, NSW (2267)

Iain Jensen

49er

24

Belmont, NSW

Lake Macquarie, NSW (2283)

Tom Slingsby

Laser

27

Gosford, NSW

Gosford, NSW (2250)

Jessica Crisp

RS:X

42

Sydney, NSW

Sydney, NSW (2027)


Yachting Australia website


by Craig Heydon

  

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