Elliot Hanson surprised even himself by clinching silver at the Sailing World Cup in Weymouth but now has his eyes firmly on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after proving he can hold his own against the world’s best.
Following a week of light winds causing a heavily reduced race schedule, Sunday finally saw stiffer breezes at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy and Hanson took full advantage in the Laser class.
Lying third heading into Sunday’s medal race, worth double points, the Macclesfield man sailed supremely to take third position and jump up to second overall in the final reckoning –– behind only Olympic-bound Brit Nick Thompson.
It was the first World Cup medal of Hanson’s young career and he claims he couldn’t even dream of beating the 37-strong fleet to climb the podium when the week began.
“I was working on process goals this week which will stand me in good stead for the next four years and the Olympic cycle,” he explained.
“I was sailing well so I thought I could make the medal race [contested by the top ten sailors on the final day] if I had a good week but to get a silver medal is a bit out of my expectations to be honest!
“It’s a high-quality fleet here and a lot of them are headed to the Olympics, so to beat them is really good.
“I showed I can compete with the best in the world and I’m looking forward to the next few years.
“I’ve struggled at some of the big events this year, so to finally put it together this week has been awesome.”
Winning a medal was even more special for Hanson as he got climb the podium alongside his good friend and training partner Thompson.
When racing on the water, the two are rivals but with the final major competition before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August now completed, Hanson will be assisting his fellow Brit’s final preparations for Rio.
“Myself and Nick are training partners and good mates as well,” he added. “He’s brought me on heaps, so in that respect it’s awesome, but even off the water we get on so well that it makes the feeling even more special.
“I’ve got one final trip to Rio with Nick – I think it’s my tenth trip out there with him! I’m looking forward to finishing off my duties with him and then focusing on my own goals heading into the next four years towards Tokyo.”
The Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland was held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy from June 6-12. The National Lottery-funded British Sailing Team is proudly supported by official partners Volvo Car UK, Zhik and Peters & May. Follow the team’s latest news and updates at britishsailingteam.com or on Twitter @BritishSailing.