Paralympics London 2012 - Golden trio ready for battle

by IFDS 
2.4mR fleet at the Beijing Paralympics
Getty Images
Gold medallists from the previous three Paralympic Sailing Competitions in the 2.4mR class, Heiko Kroeger (GER), Damien Seguin (FRA) and Paul Tingley (CAN), will make up part of a highly competitive fleet going for gold at the London Paralympic Sailing Competition from 1-6 September 2012.

The 16-boat fleet, competing in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain, will also feature two time 2.4mR World Champion Thierry Schmitter and the host nations Helena Lucas.

Defending Olympic Champion Tingley has put together some consistent results throughout the last year but isn't sitting back on his past achievements. 'I have to just look at it as a new game,' the Canadian said. 'Everyone's got a legitimate shot at it and I've got to go out with a strong offence and not try to defend.'

Tingley won bronze in the Sonar at Sydney 2000, missed out on a medal in 2004 before switching to the single person 2.4mR where he won gold in Beijing. 'That (2008) was yesterday's news,' Tingley added, 'I think I would be silly to look back and pump myself up as defending gold medallist because that's not going to help me on the race course.'

Having finished third in the 2011-12 ISAF Sailing World Cup Tingley will be among the front runners come race time.

Schmitter comes into the Paralympic Sailing Competition as the inform sailor. The Dutchman has finished on the podium at 11 of 12 regattas sailed in since January 2011, winning six of them, including his third 2.4mR World Championship title.

Sailing in his third Paralympics Schmitter has a bronze medal to his name from Athens 2004 but will want to come away with gold.

Like Schmitter France's Seguin has another exceptional recorded to his name and has won seven regattas since January 2011. The Frenchman won gold at Athens 2004 but four points separated himself and Tingley in the 2.4mR at Beijing 2008 so he had to settle for silver.

As one of the most successful Paralympic sailors Seguin will carry the French flag before starting his quest for a third Paralympic medal in a row.

Germany's Kroeger was the first ever 2.4mR Paralympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000 where Paralympic sailing first became an official event. The German missed out on a medal at Beijing 2008, finishing a painstaking fourth and has been unable to find the form he once had. But as a three time 2.4mR World Champion it would be foolish to rule the German out of contention.

Host nation medal hopes will be pinned Helena Lucas who fought hard to qualify for the Paralympics ahead of Megan Pascoe. Lucas sailed at Beijing 2008, finishing seventh, and will be aiming to become the first British Paralympic sailing medallist.

The fleet also features a wide range of International sailing talent and it all begins on 1 September.

ISAF website