Brush with Olympians makes Wood eager for success
MIKE Wood insists hitting the waves in his new boat and competing with GB’s prospective London 2012 Olympians was just the inspiration he needs to become a sailing star of the future.
TESTING THE WATERS: Mike Wood admits rubbing shoulders with Olympians on the waves has whet his apptetite for glory in his new boat
Wood has made the decision to switch his usual two-man 420 class dinghy for the Olympic level 470 sailboat for next season, and tested the waters in competition for the first time alongside his crew Ben Gratton at the national championships in October.
Admittedly London 2012 has surfaced too soon for Wood to make a splash, but the 19-year-old’s brush with Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers and the rest of Team GBR’s finest is all the motivation required for him to sail on towards Rio 2016.
And his 14th place finish in the RYA Olympic classes series event at the Olympic venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing academy, has not deterred Wood from striving to achieve his dream.
“It was always going to be difficult competing against some people who have spent 15 or 20 years in this type of boat,” said Wood.
“There were sailors out there that have been to three Olympics in a 470 boat, so just being on the same waters as them is a terrific learning curve.
“Most of them are at the World Championships now, so they were on top of their game and it was a great challenge for us.
“We just wanted to get the new boat out once before the end of the season just to see how we faired, and we were quite happy with how we get on.
“The plan is now to go away and work hard over the winter and get up to speed with the best of them so we can come back in the 470 even bigger and better for next season.”
The date on Wood’s calendar where he is seeking to make his mark is the Open 470 European Championships in Largs, Scotland, next June – around a month before London 2012.
The Olympics is where Wood is aiming to be competing and, after finishing his degree at the University of Exeter, he plans to go full speed ahead towards achieving the goal.
“I’m finishing my degree in 2013 and from there the plan is to make the big step up and go full time, and drive on and devote my life to the sport,” added Wood.
“The Olympics is always going to be competitive when each country can only qualify one boat for each event but the chance to go to 2016, would be a dream come true.”
“It’s great to be involved in training camps with the senior team at the moment but after I finish university, I’ll only really just be getting started.”
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