TEAM 2012: Saxton faces Battle of Britain on road to London Olympics
BEN Saxton concedes being a sailor in Britain is as much a hindrance as it is a help - but insists he wouldn't want it any other way.
UP AGAINST IT: Ben Saxton and David Kohler face a Battle of Britain to book their place at the London 2012 Olympics (onEdition)
The 20-year-old alongside David Kohler is one of a host of home 470 crews bidding to sail the sole boat at the London Olympics in just under two years' time.
Saxton and Kohler are currently the third best pair in Britain with their world ranking of 18th a full 14 places below top British pairing Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.
That only tells half the story though, with Saxton and Kohler making great strides over the past 12 months to finish in 16th and 14th at this year World and European Championships respectively.
They ended the Europeans in 21st and worlds in 19th in 2009 and Saxton has vowed to continue his upward trajectory with Kohler right up until the 2012 Olympics.
"For us it was a fantastic year. We outperformed our targets and coming 16th at the World Championships helped us qualify for performance funding," said Saxton, who is studying management at the University of Southampton.
"We want to get closer and closer to the top ten and we are working hard to do that but there are also so many good British crews and sailing is so strong at the moment.
"At the moment, we are probably the third best pair but if we were, say, German we would probably be looked at as the favourites to go to the London 2012 Olympics."
The pair underlined their Olympic potential at the Sail for Gold Regatta on the 2012 waters of Weymouth in August, finishing sixth and winning the medal race.
Saxton readily admits the strength in depth in Britain has seen his sights shift from the 2012 Olympics to the 2016 Games, but has vowed not to give up on his London dream.
"We are definitely looking at 2012 and it will great to be part of the build up to it. We have an outside shot but realistically we are looking at 2016," he added.
"I wouldn't say no to 2012 but you have to really start training for it now."
Visa is proud to be Presenting Partner of Team 2012, a team of 1,200 athletes across the UK who are aiming to compete at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information go to www.lifeflowsbetter.com