Sir Ben Ainslie believes sailor Giles Scott has all the characteristics required to maintain Great Britain’s dominant run in the Olympic Finn class by taking gold at Rio 2016.
Since returning to Finn class racing in September 2013, Scott has yet to taste defeat, winning the European Championships and the Rio Test event as well as making it back-to-back world titles in Santander last month.
His performances have also seen the world number one named on the shortlist for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards for 2014, due to be announced on November 4.
Two years ago Scott missed out on the chance to compete at London 2012 with Ainslie – himself the only sailor to be crowned Sailor of the Year on three occasions – the man chosen with just one Team GB spot up for grabs.
Ainslie, Britain's most successful Olympic sailor of all time, would go on to win his fourth successive gold at the London Games and his third in the Finn class to add to Iain Percy’s victory at Sydney 2000.
And with the countdown to Rio firmly underway, Ainslie insists Great Britain could well be celebrating another gold medal win.
“I kept an eye on the World Championships to see how the team got on. Giles Scott was completely dominant in his Finn class and there was some really strong performances from the British Sailing team which suggests that in a couple of years they are going to be in a really good place come Rio,” said Ainslie, speaking at the launch of the 1851 Trust.
“Having sailed with and against Giles towards the end of my Olympic career, I believe he has the ability to win gold.
“He’s had an incredible year but for him now it’s about taking these final two years and getting everything right.
“He will be the favourite so it’s about coping with that pressure. There is no doubt he has the ability and having seen him the last few years, he also has that mental strength.
“He is a very level headed guy with a great team around him.”
© Sportsbeat 2014