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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Iain Percy hits out at Olympics' Star sailing proposal

Andrew Simpson (l) and Iain Percy (r)
Simpson and Percy won the Star class gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Southampton's double Olympic sailing gold medallist Iain Percy has questioned a proposal to exclude keelboats from the 2016 Olympic Games.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) will decide in May whether to remove the Star Class category from the games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.

But Percy told BBC Radio Solent: "It would take away a skill for the young people up and coming."

Percy is hoping to defend his Olympic crown in the Star class at London 2012.

He added: "A real interesting part is some of the bits that make it a sport that people love for the whole of their lives, the technicals, the intricacies, the little turns on the shrouds or a little bit of a change on the rudder angle.

To not have keelboats represented in the Olympics is not what the sport is about

Andrew Simpson

"It might sound a bit geeky, but it's the kind of thing all us enthusiasts of the sport love."

Percy's close friend and racing partner Andrew 'Bart' Simpson is equally frustrated at the proposal.

"Ninety-per-cent of boats in the world are keelboats," he said. "To not have keelboats represented in the Olympics is not what the sport is about."

Percy and Simpson have spent the last couple of months training in Portugal ahead of the upcoming events season, and qualification to represent Great Britain in 2012 could be secured at the Olympic Test event in Weymouth and Portland in August.

Before that, the pair head to a regatta in Parma next month.

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see also
Percy and Simpson win Star worlds
21 Jan 10 |  Sailing
Simpson and Percy on 2012 chances
10 Aug 10 |  Sailing
More glory for Percy and Simpson
11 Jul 09 |  Sailing

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