Hampshire sailor Hannah Diamond has received giant boost in her mission to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016 by getting selected to join Team Volvo after a bronze medal at the ISAF World Cup Regatta in Miami.
Diamond competes with teammate Ben Saxton, an ex-student of Southampton University, in the Nacra 17 division, where they have been campaigning for a place at the Games in two years’ time.
Volvo is the main sponsors of British sailing and since their first involvement in 2001 they have helped Team GB win 16 Olympic and three Paralympic medals. And now the Southampton pair boast the prestige of their support.
That is music to Diamond and Saxton’s ears. She wrote on her official blog: “We’re really excited to be joining Team Volvo!”
The pair, who have known each other since 2000, will be able to continue their training under their coach Maurice Van Paardenkooper, but will also have the peace of mind from the backing of Team Volvo.
“For the first year of our campaign we relied on Ben’s van to get us and our boats around,” Diamond wrote.
“Having Volvo’s support will make a huge difference because it takes the pressure off if something does go wrong.”
The south coast duo, who both competed for Great Britain at youth and junior level in the Optimist, Laser Radial and 29er classes, are busy training in Lagos, Portugal this week in preparation for the next regatta in Mallorca at the end of March.
“It’s a reliable venue where we can sail pretty much everyday,” she said about Lagos.
“Everyone’s been away training over the winter so we didn’t have a clue what to expect when we all came together and raced again.”
Nacra 17 are 17ft performance catamarans, which were chosen specifically as the class that will be used at the mixed multihull at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.