by Craig Heydon
At this year’s Olympic Games in London, Women’s Match Racing will make its debut along with the Australian team’s three youngest sailors. Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty will all be getting their first taste of the Olympic Games when the Women’s Match Racing competition kicks off in front of a packed crowd on the Nothe spectator course in Weymouth on Sunday.
Olivia Price and crew in Weymouth
Price, Curtis and Whitty, aged 19, 24 and 22 respectively, know what it takes to be successful at the Olympic venue, having won gold at last month’s Sail for Gold regatta, the final event held at the venue before the Games.
With supplied equipment, allocated training blocks and limited time in the boats before racing begins on Sunday the buildup for the 12 countries taking part in the Women’s Match Racing competition is quite different to the other nine Olympic classes but the Australian trio have taken it in their stride.
'After several intensive training blocks in Weymouth the team had an opportunity to relax in London last week before having their first opportunity to practice with the Olympic equipment on Thursday,' said Australian sailing High Performance Director and Sailing Section Manager Peter Conde. 'The girls will have a second opportunity to get out on the water with the official practice races on Saturday before competition begins on Sunday.'
20120604 Copyright onEdition 2012© Free for editorial use image, please credit: onEdition Olivia Price (AUS), Claire Leroy (FRE), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and teams receive awards on Day 6 of the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, in Weymouth and Portland, the 2012 Olympic venue. The regatta runs from 4 - 11 June 2012, bringing together the world's top Olympic and Paralympic class sailors. 2012 marks the seventh edition of Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta. The inaugural event was held in 2006 when 26
The Women’s Match Racing competition is unique at London 2012 with the 12 crews taking part in a round robin of short, intense, races with the top eight progressing to a multi-race knockout round.
'The team faces a long program that starts on the first day of sailing competition and is the last sailing event to finish on August 11,' said Conde. 'With all three girls making their Olympic debut, the experience within the Aussie team, especially Beijing first time Gold medallist Elise Rechichi, has been invaluable.
'The team is quietly confident based on their preparation and recent regatta form including their Sail for Gold win in June on the Olympic course,' he said.
The competition for medals is set to be fierce and with London 2012 the one and only Olympic appearance for Women’s Match Racing the 12 crews will be doing all they can to stand on the top step of the podium on August 11.
Australian Sailing Team website