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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Ainslie upbeat on Olympic hopes
Ben Ainslie
Ainslie won Olympic gold in the Laser in 2000 and Finn in 2004
Ben Ainslie believes that his role as Britain's new America's Cup skipper will not damage his ambition to win a third Olympic gold medal.

Ainslie was not named in Britain's team for the 2008 Games, but no-one has yet been chosen for the Finn class.

"I hope I'm going to the Olympics - I want to go, but it's down to the selection committee to decide who they think the best person is," he said.

"I think the Americas Cup has been the right thing for me to do at this time."

Ainslie won gold in the Finn class in Athens in 2004 and in the Laser class four years earlier.

"Sailing is a very diverse sport and there are a lot of challenges. The America's Cup is one of my goals, along with winning Olympic gold medals," he said.

"I'm sure the America's Cup will play a big role in the rest of my career.

Ben has got to come out and race me. If he takes his eye off the ball, that could play into my hands

Ed Wright

"But I proved by winning the pre-Olympic regatta last month that it has not been bad for my sailing. If I'm selected for Beijing I will be competitive."

Ainslie was recently named as skipper of Britain's Team Origin in the 2009 America's Cup last week which will take place in Valencia.

He missed last week's Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth but won the Finn class in the recent test regatta at Qingdao, the 2008 Olympic venue.

British sailing chief Stephen Park said: "I'm speaking regularly with Ben and he wants to compete at the Olympics.

"But we don't want Ben to compromise his position with Team Origin in the Cup or with the Olympic team."

Park added: "We've been in discussions with him and his managers at Team Origin.

"We have to make sure that Ben's America's Cup obligations aren't going to prevent him from completing the programme of events he'll need to if he is to be competitive in Beijing.

606: DEBATE

"However, we've still not been able to get the whole committee together to finalise our decision about the Finn class - that's why we've not made a selection known yet."

But British number two Ed Wright, who won in Weymouth last week, said he deserved a place in the team in Beijing.

"The selectors like to pick medal winners and proven winners but I just want that chance to prove that I can do it," he said.

"Ben has got to come out and race me. If he takes his eye off the ball, that could play into my hands.

"There really should be two spots because if I'd been sailing for any other country, I'd have selected a long time ago."



SEE ALSO
Olympic dream over for Robertson
18 Sep 07 |  Sailing
Ainslie leads Brit medal charge
22 Aug 07 |  Sailing


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