Saxton and Groves win Sailing World Cup gold - and now set their focus on Rio 2016
- Credit: Archant
It was job done for Ben Saxton as he converted an overnight lead into victory at the Sailing World Cup in Weymouth and he believes a tricky week of racing will stand him in great stead for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Following a week of light winds causing a heavily reduced race schedule, Sunday finally saw stiffer breezes at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy and Saxton took full advantage in the Nacra 17 class.
Alongside partner Nicola Groves, the Ashwell sailor finished fifth in the medal race, worth double points, to seal overall victory – finishing three points clear of German duo Paul Kohlhoff and Carolina Werner in second.
The World Cup was the final major competition before the Rio 2016 Olympics, which are now a little over 50 days away.
Saxton has said that he and Groves will be ‘serious contenders’ at Rio, and believes an attacking gameplan paid dividends at the Sailing World Cup.
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“We went out with a pretty positive strategy because we knew we had been sailing well,” he explained.
“We went out and aimed to sail well because the beauty of getting such good results earlier in the week was that if we did that, we would win the regatta.
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“We had a bit of a tricky start and ended up going off on port but we pulled it together after that and did enough to get the overall victory, which is what we wanted to do.
“I think we did as much as we possibly can at this regatta in terms of preparation for Rio.
“We said at the beginning of the week how important it was to work on our starts and we did that successfully. We’ve got a lot more to work on for sure but it’s going in the right direction.”
Saxton and Groves will be making their Olympic debuts in Rio and their performances suggest they will be right in the medal hunt.
The World Cup victory in Weymouth laid down a marker to their rivals but the 25-year-old insists the pair won’t be dwelling on their success for long.
“We’re back out to Rio on Thursday so it’s a pretty quick turnaround,” added Saxton. “A little bit of rest and recovery then back on it again.
“We’re fine-tuning now – we felt ready before this regatta and now we’re really ready. There’s nothing big to work on, just fine-tuning.”
The Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland was held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from June 6-12.
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