Lucas becomes first British athlete selected for Rio 2016

The London 2012 sailing gold medallist looks to defend her prize in the 2.4mR class 29 Apr 2015
Women in sailing boat

Helena Lucas becomes the first British athlete selected for Rio 2016

ⒸBritish Paralympic Association
By British Paralympic Association

London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas became the first athlete selected to represent ParalympicsGB at the Rio 2016 Games, the British Paralympic Association (BPA) announced on Wednesday (29 April).

Lucas, who also turned 40 on Wednesday, was the first British sailor to win a Paralympic medal since the sport became a full part of the Paralympic programme in 2000, as she won gold in the 2.4mR class on home water at London 2012.

She did so as the only female sailor amid an otherwise all-male 2.4mR fleet.

It is the culmination of a selection campaign in which Lucas produced consistent performances to prove her form, fending off tough competition for the place in the 2.4mR class from compatriot Megan Pascoe.

Lucas is the only GB athlete in her class to have secured podium places in the Royal Yachting Association’s four qualification events, including silver at the 2014 IFDS World Championships and bronze in the 2.4mR Open World Championships.

“I think relieved is probably the best word,” Lucas said. “It’s been great having Meg there and pushing me all the way in the trials, and it’s a massive relief to know that I’m going to Rio and have the opportunity to defend my gold medal.

“I think the last time round I was probably one of the last to get nominated, so it’s from one extreme to the other,” Lucas added. It’s a huge privilege, but also it means that we can really focus on preparing for Rio and the specifics of the venue.”

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park added: “Helena has had some tough competition in the selection trials from Megan, but by selecting in the 2.4mR class at this early stage it allows us to focus our attentions on optimising Helena’s performance and the specific challenges of Rio itself, which is a very difficult venue in sailing terms, while at the same time harnessing Megan’s undoubted talent to aid the British sailing team’s medal-winning prospects across the Paralympic classes.”

Great Britain has qualified a further five slots for athletes to compete in the SKUD 18 and the sonar class at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Competition for places in those classes will continue over the coming months.