Asher looking to Olympics

PUBLISHED: 10:41 20 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:49 16 September 2010

LOWESTOFT sailor Nic Asher has set his sights firmly on London 2012 after getting a taste of things to come at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.

LOWESTOFT sailor Nic Asher has set his sights firmly on London 2012 after getting a taste of things to come at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta.

Two-time 470 World champions Asher and Elliot Willis laid down a marker in Weymouth - venue for both the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events - finishing just outside the medals in fourth with 67 points.

The British pair of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell just pipped them to bronze - finishing with 58 points - and set up what looks to be a two-way tussle for a spot on the British team for London 2012.

And despite walking away from the Dorset coast empty-handed, the 25-year-old former Sir John Leman High School pupil insists he left with something even more valuable as he got an insight into how the Olympic waters will be in two years time.

“Even though we have been to a lot of events Sail for Gold was probably one of the most important and it was a huge learning experience,” said Asher.

“We wanted to come here to get a taste of the venue that will be holding the Olympics and we have been able to do that and we have had our ups and downs here because on the second day we broke our mast.

“Things like that are a setback, but here they can also be a good experience because we want to know as much about Weymouth in an Olympic style race as possible and we were able to do that.

“There are only another two events in Weymouth now I think before the Olympics so because there are not many events it is vitally important to come here as much as you can to try and learn about the place.”

Asher and Willis have been ones to watch since winning the 2006 World Championships, backing it up with gold in 2008 and proving their worth by finishing fourth at this year's event in Holland.

The duo finished as the top British boat at the event and even though they played second fiddle to Patience and Bithell in Weymouth - former Carlton Colville Primary School pupil Asher is convinced the tables can be turned back around in time for London 2012.

“There are a lot of good 470 boats at the moment and we know that only one of us will go to London 2012 to represent Great Britain,” he added.

“It makes it tough but everyone is a lot better for it I think because we all force each other to raise our game.

“I know that we have enough about us to be at London 2012 ahead of the others and it is up to us now to prove it out on the water.”

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