Bithell and Patience are the key for GB

26 July 2012 / 15:58

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell "love the challenge" that awaits them at the Olympics sailing event but not suggestions that men's 470 gold is all but guaranteed to go to the Australian team.

The two-time world championship silver medallists came through a tough selection battle to secure their place in the Great Britain sailing team.

Patience and Bithell are strongly tipped to medal this summer, although the Australian pairing of Matthew Belcher and Malcolm Page are firm favourites for gold. While conceding they are the team to beat, the 25-year-olds reacted strongly to suggestions that silver is the best they can hope for.

"Can someone tell the future? I didn't know that," Patience said. "I thought that was only in fairytales." And Bithell, interjecting the helmsman, added: "There is no doubt that the Australians are a strong team and, favourites or not, we'll focus on what we can control.

"What I will say is that Adam Scott was on the top of his game last week until the last minute [at the Open] and Cadel Evans you'd have had as the best in the world going into the Tour de France.

"The point there is that everybody can be on the top of their game and there is only one way from there. Me and Luke will just focus on the things that matter to us and we know if we do that and perform well then we'll be giving them a run for their money."

Olympic veteran Iain Percy had said earlier this week that the pair's excitement was boosting the older members of the group, who in turn, Patience reveals, are helping them find their feet.

"They keep you grounded," he said. "Me and Stu are excitable characters. We laugh and smile a lot, we enjoy life and we're loving the journey of what we're doing.

"They have seen everything a lot of times, they've been to multiple Games and won multiple medals. There is very much this intensity around them that it is business and work has to be done and everything is performance driven.

"We are like that as well, but maybe we just smile and laugh a bit more. It is nice to have them there. Every now and again they remind you of that intensity, that's it work. It's business."