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Nic's highs - and lows

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:03 05 July 2010

Nic Asher and Elliot Willis at the 2008 World Championships in Melbourne

Nic Asher and Elliot Willis at the 2008 World Championships in Melbourne

FROM the massive highs of winning European and World sailing championships, to the major lows of injuries and disappointment at not making the Olympic Games, it has been a "tough year" for Team Asher/Willis.

FROM the massive highs of winning European and World sailing championships, to the major lows of injuries and disappointment at not making the Olympic Games, it has been a “tough year” for Team Asher/Willis.

Sailing sensation, Nic Asher, 23, from Carlton Colville, secured a stunning double in 2008 by triumphing in Australia and Italy with his crew Elliot Willis in the 470 Olympic Class.

But the reigning World and European champions narrowly missed out on a place at Beijing's Olympic Games to eventual silver medallists Joe Glanfield and Nick Rogers.

And reflecting this week on a year full of emotions, Asher told The Journal that the focus is now firmly on making the 2012 Olympics. “It has been a tough year for us, filled with incredible highs and emotional lows,” he said.

“We wanted to win the Worlds and Europeans this year and to win the European crown for the first time was fantastic.

“This meant we became the third British team to claim both World and European Championships victories this year.

“But while fellow World and European titleholders Ben Ainslie and the Yngling trio of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson had the chance to make it a hat-trick of major event golds at the Beijing Games (which both teams did) we have to wait until 2012 for our chance to shine on the Olympic stage,” Asher said.

After the Europeans victory, Asher and Willis travelled to China for a two-week training camp with Joe Glanfield and Nick Rogers and two other British boats to train before the games.

“After the disappointment of not being selected last year I thought that when the Olympics came around I would be over it and able to deal with seeing teams I know we can beat, competing and winning medals. But it really hit me hard, and I found it hard to get enthusiastic about anything,” Asher revealed.

“It affected me for about a month after the Olympics, and is something I never want to have to go through again. But as soon as we were back competing again everything was back to normal.”

This came in September with victory in the Sail for Gold Regatta - the first regatta of the next Olympiad at the venue of the Olympic Games, Weymouth.

“We continued our winning streak and sailed consistently to win comfortably in the end from an up-and-coming Spanish team,” Asher said.

“At the start of October we had a National Ranker at Weymouth, and once again plenty of boats turned up. The racing was very tough inside Portland harbour.

“We sailed very well and won with a race to spare, which was a great way to finish the year off,” Asher revealed.

With the boat now cast aside until February, the main goal for Team Asher/Willis next year is to win a third World Championships.

“We also want to make sure we win every event we sail at Weymouth so we build up a winning habit at the Olympic venue and create a mental obstacle for our competitors.” Asher said.

The duo also have a new coach - American Morgan Reeser. “He won a silver medal in the 470 class at the 1992 Olympic Games,” Asher said. “We also have an old coach from our Optimist days who has just started working for the company that makes our sails, so we have a great team behind us going into the 2012 campaign.

“We would like to thank everybody who has helped and supported us over the past four years. We would not be where we are today if it wasn't for your kind generosity and we really appreciate it!

“We would also like to give a special thanks to Contract Personnel whose continued generous sponsorship enabled us to realise our dream of becoming World Champions for a second time,” Asher added.

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