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09 Sep 2015

The British Olympic Association (BOA) today announced the names of the very first athletes to officially join Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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Rio 2016 Olympic Games Sailing Competition

A total of eight athletes have been selected across six of the ten sailing events, who between them have won four Olympic medals and seven World Championship golds.

London 2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are paired together again in the 470 Women's class while Luke Patience, who also won silver three years ago, teams up with two-time World Champion Elliot Willis in the 470 Men's event.

Hannah Mills / Saskia Clark
Luke Patience / Elliot Willis

Hannah Mills, born Cardiff, Wales, grew up Dinas Powys, Wales, now lives Portland, Dorset, 470 Women said, "London was obviously amazing, it was a home Games and the home support we got was just the most unexpected and surreal experience. With Rio what's really going to be cool is the fact that we are going to be in the city, right in the hub of where the Olympics are going to be with all the other sports and I think that is going to be super exciting to really feel a part of that. It's going to be very different to London and I think embracing that is going to be key and I just can't wait!

"Sas and I are definitely a very different team since London, it was a late campaign and was all a bit of run at it from afar and, with everything that was going on, just do the best that we could in the time that we had available. This time has obviously been a lot more of a calculated four years.

"We're a much, much stronger team and we're really looking forward to next year."

Saskia Clark, born Colchester, Essex; now lives Weymouth, Dorset, 470 Women said, "I still feel like a bit of kid getting selected to go to the Olympics, whether it is your first time or your third and so I'm really excited.

"We have a lot to learn to about the venue in Rio and obviously we are really pleased to have come away from both Test Events with a medal, not the win, but medals prove we're close. We have a year to go, all our competitors have a year to go still as well, so we are not planning on slowing down and thinking the job is done. We have a very busy year ahead to keep improving and are improving at a faster rate than anyone we are sailing against."

Luke Patience, born Aberdeen, Scotland; grew up Helensburgh, Scotland; now lives Portland, Dorset, 470 Men said, "It's such an exciting phone call to get and it just gets the wee butterflies going. You dream about a single thing for so many years of your life, certainly all of my adult life in my case, so to get the call saying you're selected for the Olympics is just so good, such an honour. I'm always proud to don the Team GB shirt and here we go again. Round two, let's fight!

"I'm just so pleased to be in a team with Elliot and be able to experience his first excitement to it all. He is a very grounded guy and he is very unaffected by the occasion, but let's be honest it's the Olympic Games, and it is going to be a good one! I'm so pleased to be in a boat with him, we get on really well. We raced each other hard, to the bone, in our younger years and here we are in the team together. Stuart and I had a fantastic experience last time round and I'm sure me and Elliot and I are on the same path to have a fantastic experience to go and race hard. He has got to be one of the most talented and successful sailors that has yet to go to the Olympic Games so I'm so pleased that he has that opportunity. "

Elliot Willis, from Sevenoaks, Kent, 470 Men said, "It's been a long road for me - this is my third Olympic campaign, with Beijing being my closest chance of selection before now when I was sailing with Nic Asher. Even though we haven't had a clear competitor in our trials, I have been trying for a long time to make it to the Games so to have that finally confirmed is an exciting moment.

"Luke and I have known each other for many years, as rivals and now as teammates and he's a fantastic sailor and a great guy to be around. It's pretty hard not to like him! For both of us, selection is a small but important step towards what we ultimately want to achieve next year in Rio. We want to be there on the start line in 2016 with a real shot at winning gold, so we'll be working towards optimising our racing, our equipment and everything towards the challenges we expect from Rio as a venue."

Joining the 470 teams are the following sailors nominated by the Royal Yachting Association:

Giles Scott: Finn (Men's One Person Dinghy Heavy)
Nick Thompson: Laser (Men's One Person Dinghy)
Alison Young: Laser Radial (Women's One Person Dinghy)
Bryony Shaw: RS:X Women (Women's Windsurfer)

Source: RYA/Lindsey Bell

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