Build up to 2012 officially begins
Official 2012 sailing venue, the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) marked the Beijing to London Paralympics hand over yesterday, Wednesday, 17 September.
The ceremony comes shortly after a slightly disappointing finish for the Paralympics Team GBR in Qingdao. Conditions were always going to make difficult sailing and despite some huge efforts and some outstanding performances, Team GBR, which included Weymouth based sailors, Alexandra Rickham and Helena Lucas, finished in fifth, sixth and seventh places across all three fleets.
Photo: Helena Lucas taking part in the Paralympics in Beijing
Mark Stubbings, commented, ‘The teams’ preparation and dedication to the event was as thorough as the Olympians. They showed in the Paralympic Test Event in May that they are very capable, but on the day things just didn’t go their way. It is clear we have a lot to look forward to from the team in 2012 and the hand over ceremony today signified the start of their new quest for medals’
WPNSA watched the closing ceremony in Beijing on a live broadcast, in the company of local guests.
Visitors to the event at WPNSA included Jim Knight, MP, Rod Carr, CEO of the RYA and a representative from LOCOG, the London organising committee headed by Seb Coe. This final hand over promises to mark the start of a four-year party atmosphere throughout the whole community, building up to the 2012 sporting event.
The festivities commenced with youth sailors from Gloucester and Devizes showing their boat handling skills, followed by 14 disabled sailors all from the South West taking to the water with Sail Laser.