Coronavirus: Eilidh McIntyre still hopeful of realising Olympic ambition

Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntrye
Eilidh McIntrye (right) hopes to compete in her first Olympics this summer

Sailor Eilidh McIntyre still hopes to realise her Olympic dreams despite the coronavirus pandemic potentially putting them on hold.

McIntyre is due to partner Hannah Mills in the 470 Class at Tokyo in July.

The pair found themselves making a swift return home after the World Championships in Majorca were postponed on Friday.

“The situation escalated pretty quickly," McIntyre told BBC Radio Solent.

McIntyre, from Hayling Island in Hampshire, and Mills were out training on the water in Palma when officials communicated the decision to call off the regatta as Spain prepared for a nationwide lockdown.

They had planned to stay on in Palma for a few days training, but had to make a hasty return to the UK.

McIntyre was able to fly home but Mills, who won silver at London 2012 and gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with former partner Saskia Clark, had to embark on a long journey over sea and land.

Two ferries and a drive through mainland Spain and France were necessary to ensure their boat and all their kit returned safely home.

“It became a race against time to get everything back,” McIntyre said. “Hannah is definitely going to need a few days to recover.”

For now McIntyre, 25, faces uncertainty in her bid to compete at a first Olympics and follow in the footsteps of father Mike, a gold medallist in the Star class at Seoul in 1988.

“All we can do is go with what people are saying, which is training hard and assuming the Olympics will go ahead,” she said.

“It’s a crazy time for everyone, but we have to keep pushing towards this dream right the way until the end.

“Whenever these moments happen, I always feel that it’s character-building and will make me stronger as an athlete. It’s about trying to work hard and keep the motivation high as it’s not over yet.”