Southampton Sailor Ready For Action!

Paralympics GB sailor Helena Lucas believes experiencing the Olympics will help in her medal quest on the south coast.

It is only a matter of weeks since the Olympic sailing came to an end on the waters of Weymouth and Portland, where Team GB picked up five medals.

Now the home crowd's expectation falls on the shoulders of Britain's Paralympians, who will be looking to pick up their first sailing medal since the sport's introduction in 2000.

Lucas is hoping for a podium finish in the 2.4mR class and believes the experience of seeing the Olympics come to town will only benefit her.

''It was absolutely fantastic and I think we got the balance just right,'' she told Press Association Sport.

''We had training camps going on down in Mylor in Cornwall and then we were back resting on the weeks off watching the Olympics.

''For me, it was absolutely brilliant because it was a case that I was on my downtime and could get involved, could thoroughly enjoy it and it was a really good experience for me.

''It was good to get used to that slight surrealness that this is home but there is a massive, major event going on.

''Being around during that period really helped with the Paralympics coming up.''

It also reminded the 37-year-old how fine the margins can be as she witnessed Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson narrowly miss out on Star victory an hour before Ben Ainslie ensured he would win a fourth successive gold.

Southampton's Helena Lucas

''Watching the Finn and Star medal races was absolutely brilliant,'' Lucas said.

''I was obviously so disappointed for the Star guys but it was fantastic for Ben to get that medal.

''We were all on the Nothe and the atmosphere there was absolutely brilliant.

''Watching that reminded me it is really important to manage your expectations.

''It is not all going to go your way. There are going to be a few curve balls thrown at you and if you can deal with those and the odd race that doesn't go well, that you keep plugging away, keep trying to take the boats.

''Every boat counts and it could make the difference between a gold or silver, or a medal or not.

''I learned a lot from those guys racing and the ups and down they went through.''

Lucas will also use the experience of her Paralympic debut as motivation for gold, having finished seventh in Beijing four years ago.

''I think I have learned some lessons from what went wrong in Beijing and my preparation going into these Games is much, much better,'' she said.

''I also have a personal coach, Ian Barker, helping me over this last year and has massively improved my speed in all conditions, which is fantastic because now I don't really have a weak condition.

''I am fast and that really helps when it comes to the tactics and stuff like that. That has certainly been the big difference this year.''

Helena's first race is on Saturday 1st September at 11.10am

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