The highly competitive 470 event gets under way on the water this week, and hopes are high that both the British men’s and women’s duos will do well enough to claim a medal. At Beijing four years ago there was silver delight for the men’s pair of Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, and now it is the turn of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.
The pair joined up before the 2009 World Championships in Denmark where they went on to win silver. They also took bronze at the 470 Europeans in 2010 and 2011, and another silver medal at the World Championships in Perth in December secured their place in the London 2012 squad.
A back injury almost ended helmsman Patience’s 2009 470 World Championships campaign in Copenhagen, Denmark, while the Scot also suffered a slight injury after the boat capsized at the 2011 470 World Championships in Perth, Australia, so he has done well to make it this far in a bid to realise his ambition of an Olympic gold.
To do so, the pair must stop the challenge of the reigning champions Australia, represented this year by Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page. The latter took the gold with Nathan Wilmot four years ago, and he and his new partner are very accomplished in this class. Belcher’s record during the 2010 season included winning the 470 world championship before the medal race, winning the overall World Cup, and being ranked the world number one at the end of the year, while Page’s Olympic record speaks for itself.
However, in what could turn out to be a good omen for Team GB, by pure coincidence, Patience and Bithell, well before they were to team up, were in the very same room in 2005 when it was announced that London had got the Games!
Like the men, the Australian women dominated in Beijing, courtesy of Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson, but this time round the British pair of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark should at the very least take silver, and hopefully gold. The duo won a string of silvers together before finally taking gold at the world championships in May, becoming the first British women to win in the class.
Australia’s Rechichi has a new partner now in Belinda Stowell, who has also won golds in the 470 with different partners in the past, so they should not be dismissed lightly when the heats begin on Thursday in a competition that also features strong teams from Holland and Spain.
Olympic Sailing 470 Final Odds
Ladbrokes are giving the best odds on the Olympic Sailing, particularly in the 470 event. Favourite to take Gold are the Australians at 4/7 with Team GB at 5/2 and Israel at 8/1. The Women’s 470 see’s Another Team GB Gold medal hopeful as favourites at 11/4 with Spain second favourites at 7/2, however the outcome Team GB will be expecting to earn some medals in this event.
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