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Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sailor Katrina Hughes targets a strong 2011

Katrina Hughes
Hughes began sailing in Burnham-on-Crouch at the age of five

Leigh-on-Sea sailor Katrina Hughes believes she and her partner Penny Clark are poised for a strong 2011.

The 21-year-old heads into next week's second round of the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Miami on the fringes of the top 10 in the 470 class world rankings.

After a disrupted 2010, Hughes said she was confident for the year ahead.

"We're actually quite pleased with where we are ranked at the moment considering we only did a few events last year," she told BBC Essex.

"We're ranked just outside the top 10 at the moment, but we had quite a hard year last year because Penny was taken down quite badly with a kidney infection.

"We had to take a few months off from sailing and I had a back injury so we missed quite a few events due to that."

Despite the setbacks, Hughes and Clark still managed an eighth-placed finish in the World Championships and came sixth at the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta pre-Olympic test event in Weymouth.

It's 100% serious prospect for us, we're putting everything towards 2012 at the moment and hope to get selected for it

Katrina Hughes

With a winter of training behind them, Hughes sees the Miami OCR event, which gets underway on Sunday, 23 January, as a good opportunity to assess their chances for 2011.

"It's one of quite a few events spread across the year that goes towards your world ranking, so it's quite a big event for us to kick off the year," she said.

"It's about getting a feel for what the fleet's going to be like and what everybody has been up to over the winter and to get a feel for how our training has been going."

As with any athlete competing in an Olympic sport, Hughes and Clark have their sights firmly set on the 2012 Olympics.

Katrina was recently announced as one of Essex County Council's 13 Team Essex Ambassadors, who will receive backing to help them achieve their goal.

She is confident the pair are capable of competing in Weymouth come July 2012.

"It's 100% a serious prospect for us, we're putting everything towards 2012 at the moment and hope to get selected for it," she said.

"There's a process whereby each country has a place selected for them which will happen at the ISAF championships [in Perth].

"So we need to be in the top 10 to at least have a chance of a medal."

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