Olympic silver medallist Hannah Mills admitted climbing second spot on the podium surpassed all expectations after she and sailing partner Saskia Clark overcame injury-hit preparations to add to Britain’s medal tally at the 470 European Championships in Athens.
The duo won silver together at London 2012 but had endured a frustrating start to their 2014 season with a hernia operation for Clark in April then compounded by a subsequent back injury to Mills – meaning a three-month lay off in total for the pair.
But despite being short on sailing fitness and time in the boat heading to Greece, they accumulated a series of top-six finishes to guarantee themselves European Championship silver ahead of the final day of racing.
It also left them in with a chance of overtaking Austria’s Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar as well as New Zealand’s Olympic and world champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie in the race for overall event victory.
And while unable to make up the 11-point deficit to the Austrian pair on the medal race track, Mills and Clark did manage to overtake the New Zealand team to claim Open event silver.
“We really didn’t know what to expect coming here, to be honest,” said Mills.
“We didn’t even know if we’d get through the week. My back’s not been the best in the build-up but actually our physio Wayne has done an amazing job in keeping me on track.
“We’ve had to change a few things with our hoisting technique with the spinnaker, but other than that we can race pretty normally and it’s been great to get through the week.
“To come away with a medal is more than we expected so we’re really happy with how we raced.”
Mills and Clark’s two silvers meant the British Sailing Team finished the European Championships on four medals following Luke Patience and Elliot Willis’ gold and event silver earlier in the week.
© Sportsbeat 2014