Qualifying is as tough as winning medal, says Ainslie

BRITAIN’S greatest sailor Ben Ainslie admits qualifying for London 2012 was almost as tough as winning an Olympic medal.

Ainslie, who will go for a fourth gold next summer, had to see off the world’s second best Finn sailor, Giles Scott, just to secure his place at the Games. Team GB only has room for one sailor from each class, meaning 24-year-old Scott will have to wait for his shot at Olympic glory.

“It’s close to [being tougher to qualify than win a medal],” said Ainslie. “Those guys have certainly forced me to raise my game a huge amount – and hopefully they can continue to do that so that in 10 months I’m in a great position to go out and do well.”

Ainslie was one off 11 sailors yesterday named as the first confirmed Team GB athletes for London 2012.

FIRST XI| CONFIRMED TEAM GB ATHLETES

Ben Ainslie, Finn
Paul Goodison, Laser
Bryony Shaw, RSX Women (windsurfing)
Nick Dempsey, RSX Men (windsurfing)
Lucy MacGregor, Elliot 6m, Match Racing
Kate MacGregor, Elliot 6m, Match Racing
Annie Lush, Elliot 6m, Match Racing
Iain Percy, Star
Andrew Simpson, Star
Hannah Mills, 470 Women
Saskia Clark, 470 Women