LONDON 2012: Hughes looking to Rio after Olympic disappointment
KATRINA Hughes concedes nothing will take away the heartache of missing out on selection for London 2012.
PREPARATION: Katrina Hughes will be part of Team GB's Olympic Ambition Programme, which aims to prepare athletes who missed out on London 2012 selection for Rio 2016 by allowing them to still experience the Games (onEdition)
But the sailing star is ready to take all she can out of the Games in readiness for Rio in four years time after being named on a scheme designed to give an insight into Olympic life for potential future Olympians.
Essex-born Hughes will be part of Team GB’s Olympic Ambition Programme for London 2012, and will have behind-the-scenes access to home athletes during the Games.
It may be something of a consolation prize for the 22-year-old, who lost out on selection in the 470 sailing class with her helm Penny Clark, but she is determined to seize what she believes represents a good opportunity.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I think it is a really good opportunity having just missed out on selection, to prepare for the 2016 Games.
“It means that come 2016 it won’t be a new experience for me and I will have some experience of what being part of an Olympics is all about.”
Hughes, of Leigh-on-Sea, has already been to Loughborough University, and Team GB’s Preparation Camp for the ‘kitting out’ phase of the Games that all British competitors have to go through.
She has listened as Olympic champions from the past have spoken about their experiences, and she will visit the Olympic Village and watch two competitions in London during the Games.
“Not many people are going to have access to these areas so this is definitely a positive for me,” said Hughes, who is now living in Portland close to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – a London 2012 venue.
“I will be going to London for two or three days during the Olympics and then I will be back in Weymouth to see some of the competitions and the medal races.
“This will hopefully be something that in four years I can go to Rio and I will look back and say, ‘I saw that in 2012’ and I will be able to draw on that experience.”
Hughes and Clark missed out on selection to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, despite being world number one at the time of the competition that decided Britain’s 470-class representatives.
Hughes said: “Our selection happened in September last year so I think compared to some of the other athletes it doesn’t weigh on my mind as much now.
“It doesn’t make it any less heartbreaking but now I just want to make sure I get everything I can out of the home Games.
“The girls that have been selected have put an amazing run together and are looking like they could push for a medal.
“I’m now looking towards 2016 and making sure I am as ready as I can be for then.”
It could be without Clark by her side, however, with Hughes unsure of which class she will sail in going forward.
“At the moment it is all a bit up in the air,” revealed Hughes, who will carry the Olympic Torch at Osprey Quay, Portland tomorrow.
“We are starting to put a plan together going forward and all should become clearer after this Olympics.”
© Sportsbeat 2012