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Sailor made for the Olympics
A 23-year-old sailor from Lopen, near Ilminster, is hoping to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012. Mary Rook is one of the country's best Match Racing sailors and says to take part in the Games would be a dream come true.
Mary competing in a Match Racing event
Mary Rook began sailing when she was 10 at the Lyme Regis Sailing Club and has been match racing since she was 18.
"I love being outside and with the wind, and analysing the natural things that are happening around you, the clouds that are going over you - how that affects the wind and what that means to you and the way you have to go - going as fast as possible," said Mary.
Match Racing will be a new Olympics sailing event for women in 2012 and involves a three-woman-team on a boat who compete in one on one racing duels.
"You have to race against everyone but all individually. You have to tactically beat them before the start and push them out where you don't want to be and stop them from beating you, so all that matters is that you beat them. It's not the fastest time round the race course, it's just beating them."
Mary after picking up her 2008 title
It replaces the Yngling event in the 2008 Olympics where the British women's team picked up their second successive Olympic gold medal.
At the moment, Mary trains all over the country but the boat she trains in now won't be used during the Olympics.
"When you go to the event they will have ten boats and they're all exactly the same. You will be racing one boat for one race but then next race you will have to get out and get into someone else's boat, so all the boats are exactly the same. There's nothing you can change about them, so it's all just on your sailing ability and how well you sail the boats."
Mary is the current British Women's Match Racing Champion and worked her way from the national competitions and youth squads into the GB sailing team.
"I always watched the Olympics when I was little, watched Sally Gunnell and everyone like that win their medals and I always wanted to be involved in something like that and with sailing I just love doing it.
"It comes quite easily to me and it would be a dream come true if I was to get there, especially if it was the home games."
last updated: 15/04/2009 at 15:33