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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:12 UK

Sarah Ayton aims to sail with Saskia Clark in 2012


Ayton bids for record third Olympic title

Double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton will be partnered by Saskia Clark in the 470 class as they aim for London 2012, after Pippa Wilson withdrew.

Ayton won her second gold in the Yngling class at the 2008 Olympics along with Wilson and Sarah Webb.

Now she has teamed up with Clark, who finished 13th in the 470 event in Beijing, after Wilson's decision to take indefinite leave from sailing.

"Teaming up with Saskia was the most natural route," said Ayton, 30.

"We are already building up a strong understanding and can't wait to get started on our campaign.


"This year is about building up the relationship and proving ourselves as a team."

The Yngling class has been dropped from the 2012 Games, so Ayton has opted to compete in a new category.

In addition to her Beijing gold medal, Ayton also won gold in the Yngling at Athens in 2004, alongside Webb and Shirley Robertson - nicknamed the "three blondes in a boat".

If she managed to win another gold at the London Games, she would become the first ever British female athlete to win gold at three successive Olympics.

Since Beijing, she has married Olympic windsurfer Nick Dempsey and had a son, Thomas.

She admitted that she had contemplated her future after winning her second gold medal, but deciding to bid for another gold medal had been an easy choice to make.

"After Beijing I wondered if I should go on to 2012," she said.

"I wanted to be a mum and have a baby and both those things are right up there with getting a gold.

"Within a couple of months of having Thomas I realised that sailing is something that makes me tick. I wanted to get there to 2012 and it was a no-brainer to be honest."

Clark, whose partner is Olympic gold medallist Paul Goodison, has competed in the international 470 class for over six years.

"With Sarah being a double gold-medallist I can learn a lot from her experience," she said.

"The new partnership in the 470 class is really interesting.

"I have a lot of competitive experience in the 470 so as a team I think we complement each other really well."

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see also
'Nervous' Olympic sailor marries
08 Feb 09 |  Surrey
Yngling champions end partnership
22 Dec 08 |  Olympics
British duo clinch 49er victory
22 Dec 08 |  Olympics
GB Yngling trio future in doubt
15 Nov 08 |  Olympics
Hat-trick of golds for GB sailors
21 Mar 08 |  Sailing
GB Yngling women breeze to gold
17 Aug 08 |  Sailing
Start sailing
14 Oct 05 |  Sailing

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