Percy has it all to do to secure third Olympic sailing gold

IAIN PERCY admits he needs to buck his ideas up if his rusty start to 2012 is to be buffed up in time to deliver the shiniest prize of all – another Olympic gold medal.

With a Finn gold at Sydney in 2000 and Star gold at Beijing in 2008 to his name, Percy began the Olympic countdown as a gold-medal favourite.

However with injury cutting short his and Star partner Andrew Simpson’s ISAF world championship medal hunt short in December, Emsworth-based Percy’s pre-eminence has been put in doubt.

A self-confessed rusty comeback at the World Cup in Palma, in which they claimed an unconvincing silver, did little to assuage those doubts over the pairing’s London 2012 credentials.

Percy accepts his recent shortcomings, but is adamant he can find a way back to top form in time for the Games.

“It was a comedy of errors for me in Palma,” said Skandia Team GB member Percy. “There were a couple of schoolboy errors but to end up in touch was quite pleasing.

“We know exactly what went wrong, but it was always going to be tough because Andrew and myself haven’t competed in about eight months so we were bound to be rusty.

“The important thing now is to get as much racing in as possible and we have four events coming up to try to get ourselves back to where we want to be. Some of the mistakes we made in Palma are things I haven’t done since I was about eight years old, like missing a start, so to come back and come second by a point is a pretty good result.

“We know there is a lot of work to do and we need to make sure every day counts, you can’t waste even one day.”

For Percy it was a familiar battle in Majorca. Long-time Brazilian rivals Robert Scheidt, the pairing Percy and Simpson beat to Olympic gold in Beijing, took gold.

And the 36-year-old knows only too well there are plenty more rivals aside from the Brazilians.

“The Brazilians will also be a lot better than they were in Palma,” he added. “Everyone is going to be peaking for the Olympics. Robert Scheidt is one of the greatest Olympic sailors ever so the Brazilians will be our main rivals but there will be lots of Olympic medallists putting the pressure on us.

“The focus now is just on the Olympics. We feel like there is a good squad with some older sailors but some new guys as well who we are helping through.

“This year is obviously the one everyone has been waiting for and I’m really looking forward to it.”

* Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more go to www.skandiateamgbr.com

TOM REYNOLDS