Olympic medal-winning sailors inspire youngsters on Weymouth beach

Bournemouth Echo: POPULAR: People taking part in windsurfing tasters at Weymouth Beach Sports Arena POPULAR: People taking part in windsurfing tasters at Weymouth Beach Sports Arena

MEDAL-winning sailors hope to have inspired a generation of future Olympians in Weymouth and Portland by their 2012 heroics.

Quadruple gold medallist Ben Ainslie and silver medal winners Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are among those believing the Sailing successes will send a new wave of young hopefuls into the sport.

Thousands of youngsters have already packed the Sports Arena on Weymouth Beach to get on board.

And clubs and youth sailing groups in the borough have already been shaping the next generation – including the Weymouth-based Will Mackaness Trust.

Sailing legend Ainslie said: “They say success breeds success.

“To inspire future generations is the idea and thankfully the team have performed really well.

“It’s been a fantastic Games and we’ve done the job.”

Clark, who won silver with Hannah Mills in the Women’s 470 dinghy class, said the Olympic sailing events on home waters looked ‘awesome’.

She said: “I hope having something like the Olympics and seeing all the amazing athletes in Weymouth and London, inspires children to think: ‘Maybe I can make that happen.’”

Pippa Wilson , 26, who won gold with Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb at the Beijing Games in 2008, has been working as a BBC 5 live pundit in Weymouth and Portland.

She said: “Sport has really brought everyone together and for this Olympics if we can continue with that, we might have a few gold medallists to come.”

Alec Baker, age 11, of Holland Road, Weymouth, was among those sailing on the beach.

“My favourite sailor is definitely Ben Ainslie. He’s just amazing. Maybe one day I’ll be as good as he is.”

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