Itchenor racer ready for Rio medal charge

Sophie Ainsworth and Nicola Dobson in action

Sophie Ainsworth and Nicola Dobson in action

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Itchenor Sailing Club’s Sophie Ainsworth is ready to cap her history-making exploits with a medal in the new 49erFX Olympic class in Rio tomorrow.

Ainsworth, along with partner Charlotte Dobson, teamed up in 2013 and finished in the top five at the 2015 world race and Rio 2014 test event.

They also won gold ahead of 2013 world champions, New Zealanders Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, at the Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland in June, the last major competition before Rio.

The 49erFX was introduced as the women’s skiff class for Rio 2016 to ensure the inclusion of more females in the Olympic sailing events.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s competition, Ainsworth believes both she and partner Dobson are capable of clinching a medal and said: “I think we’re ready to win a medal as a team; we’ve got all the skills to do it.

“If we can execute those skills and don’t come home with a medal but have done everything we can, I can be proud. If we come home with a medal I will be incredibly proud and all that hard work and determination will be so worth it.

“Charlotte and I have never been to a Games so we haven’t experienced the pressure the Olympics is going to bring. But we’re hoping we can embrace it and use the Olympic experience and buzz to push us through that pressure.

“We’re not going to ignore it but we’re there to do a job and hopefully we can perform on the day.”

The 49erFX is one of the most adrenaline-fuelled classes in the Rio, and with conditions expected to suit good all-rounders, with fluky winds in the bay, big swell on the ocean courses and tricky tides, Dobson and Ainsworth are expecting some spectacular racing.

Ainsworth added: “Rio is such a challenging venue, you have to stay switched on. ‘Never say die’ is our motto and that’s going to be so appropriate.

“Things can happen outside of your control in sailing so you try to make sure you control everything you possibly can. It will be who can perform on the day that wins the medals.”

To follow the Dobson and Ainsworth’s fortunes at Rio 2016 visitwww.rya.org.uk/Rio2016, follow @BritishSailing on Twitter and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/britishsailingteam

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