Silver delight for Olympic 2012 sailor Hannah Mills

The mother of Olympic silver medal winning sailor Hannah Mills has spoken of the sailor's delight at her success.

Mills, 24, from Dinas Powys, and her partner Saskia Clark were runners-up in the 470 class after failing to catch up with the New Zealanders in the medal race.

Fiona Mills said her daughter was "thrilled" to have brought home silver.

She said Mills would now have to decide whether to go back to university and complete her engineering degree.

Mills and Clark had shared the lead with the New Zealand boat going into Friday's race, and despite a good start they were undone by a shift in the wind, finishing the medal race next to last.

Mrs Mills, a supply PE teacher, said; "They were a bit disappointed not to get the gold because that's what they went into the race trying to do.

"But they are very excited to have competed in a home Olympics and to have come away with a silver."

The former Howells School student was the first Welsh athlete to be selected to compete at London 2012.

She even won the support of rapper Snoop Dog but Mrs Mills, speaking from Weymouth where the Olympic sailing events are being held, said she did not think the American rapper had been in contact after her medal.

Mills now has to decided whether to go back to Bristol University where she has deferred her degree to concentrate all her efforts on competing and winning an Olympic medal.

"I'm not sure what she will do - she has to make up her mind by mid September," admitted her mother who is celebrating her daughter's Olympic achievements with businessman husband Chris and Hannah's elder brothers Nick and Richard.

Mills began her sailing career at an early age at Llanishen Sailing Centre in Cardiff, which is now called Cardiff Sailing Centre and operates from Cardiff Bay.

"It's a crying shame (that the Llanishen centre has closed)," said her mother.

"There was so much of a buzz about that centre. She spent many happy hours being taught there."

Later she was chosen to join the Optimist class training for the Welsh squad and spent much of her time training at Plas Menai in north Wales.

Image caption A younger Hannah Mills learning her sailing skills

"One of her coaches Alan Williams was an official in the Olympics racing and had the pleasure of seeing his protégé's success, " said Mrs Mills.

Her daughter also trained on Sunday morning at the British Steel (now Tata) Lake in Port Talbot.

"She loved honing her skills against more mature sailors there," she added.

Mills was one of a strong group of young sailors from Wales who had been helped by the sailing set-up in Wales, her mother added.

"She said how when she was in the Optimist class sailors like Ben Ainslie would come and sign their buoyancy aids and be an inspiration. Now perhaps she can be the inspiration for others."

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