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Redhill Paralympic sailing champ back in action this summer
12:39pm Wednesday 20th February 2013 in Local News
Redhill Paralympic champion Helena Lucas, who made history claiming sailing gold at last year's London Games, is to compete in more world-class championships this summer.
Helena, 37, has confirmed she will compete at the 2013 International 2.4 Metre class Open World Championships in Poole, Dorset, this September.
Helena's gold win at London 2012 made her the first ever female winner of the Paralympic 2.4mR class title, and Britain’s first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist. Originally from Redhill but now based in Dorset, Helena will pit her wits against the world’s top 2.4mR sailors – both able-bodied and disabled, male and female - when the 2013 2.4mR Open Worlds take place at The Poole Yacht Club from September 6 to 14.
The only woman in the London 2012 2.4mR fleet, Helena dominated the Paralympic event, winning four out of her 10 races, and clinching victory with an impressive nine-point cushion over second-placed Heiko Kroger of Germany.
The Skandia Team GBR and Team Volvo for Life sailor admitted it was the lure of trying to win another major title close to home which led to her entering this year’s 2.4mR Open Worlds.
She said: “I’m only doing a handful of 2.4mR events this year but I always really wanted to try to fit the Open Worlds in if we could work my schedule around it. “Gladly we have.”
She said: “There is something incredibly special about competing on familiar waters and I’ve got a lot of good friends within the 2.4mR class who have been so supportive of me over the years, so I’m delighted to have signed up.”
She added: “The Open Worlds are an almost unique event as they showcase the accessibility of the 2.4mR as a boat that can be sailed equally well by both able-bodied and disabled sailors. “I’m really looking forward to mixing it up in what is always a fiercely-competitive fleet.” The International 2.4mR is a keelboat but has the fingertip feel of a dinghy. The sailor sits facing forwards in the ‘cockpit’ of the boat with all controls within arms’ reach, so the sailing is more strategically and tactically demanding than physically. The boat is also insensitive to different sailor sizes, as body weight is always close to its centre of gravity. Helena was born with no thumbs and limited extension in her arms. She controls her boat with a tiller and foot pedals, using the pedals for manoeuvres so that she has both hands free to pull all the ropes. Going in straight lines, she switches over to using the tiller.
Arguably Helena's biggest rival in the battle for selection for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, Skandia Team GBR’s Megan Pascoe, has also confirmed her 2.4mR Open Worlds entry. Pascoe won bronze at the 2012 2.4mR Open Worlds in Italy last September.
Entries have also come from as far afield as Australia, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
For more details, including on how to enter the event, visit the website: www.24mworlds2013.co.uk