Got a story? Call 01273 544544 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Redhill Paralympic sailing champion in action this week
Redhill Paralympic sailing champion Helena Lucas is this week eyeing up a possible third World Cup medal of the season as she takes part in the ISAF Sailing World Cup.
Sailing at Hyeres in France, the Redhill-born, Southampton-based sailor said she was determined to keep up the momentum, having claimed the top spot at the last stage of the tour in Palma earlier this month.
Lucas, who beat an all-male line-up to claim Paralympic sailing gold in the 2.4mR class at London 2012, has traded World Cup event victories with British Sailing teammate Megan Pascoe so far this year.
But she was set for the competition heading into the main sailing season to step up a gear in France this week, with a number of her key rivals due to be in action in the 17-boat 2.4mR fleet.
Helena, 38, said: “It would be great to be on the podium again. We’ve certainly got some tougher competition here with Heiko Kroeger and Damien Seguin, and we’ve also got the Dutch guy who won the IFDS Worlds last summer.”
She said: “The competition will be a little bit tougher, but it would be great to be on the podium again - and on top of it would be even better!”
Lucas and Pascoe, from Ardingly in West Sussex, have proved a force to be reckoned with among an otherwise male fleet on the world tour, as they build towards Rio 2016, where there is only one British berth up for grabs.
Helena said: “You’ve got to stay focused and you’ve got to always be looking for that extra little edge.
“I think it’s great that we have got such a strong British squad in the 2.4mR fleet.”
But while she is keen to win at the southern French venue this week, Helena has her sights for 2014 ultimately trained on the IFDS World Championships in Halifax, Canada, in August.
In spite of winning silver and bronze at previous editions of the event, the world title has so far eluded her.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been bridesmaid too many times,” she said.
“It would be really good to get a World Championship under my belt – that would be a fantastic result and I think this year would be a good time to do it.”
This week in France, she was braced for a wide range of wind conditions in five days of competition for the Paralympic classes.
“We could get anything from light winds to 20 knots, and I think that’s where it suits me,” she said.
“I feel pretty quick at the moment, so hopefully it will all pan out quite nicely.”
The final medal races in France for the ten Olympic Classes are set to take place this Saturday (April 26).