Patience and Willis take 470 European gold with day to spare

14 July 2014 / 18:01

Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience admits he and partner Elliot Willis have prompted their rivals to sit up and take notice after claiming 470 European Championships gold with a day to spare in Athens.

The pair only teamed up together five months ago but were in determined mood on the water in Greece, amassing an unassailable 22-point lead over their nearest rivals heading into Tuesday’s final ten-boat medal race.

The title gives them a first ever major regatta medal together, although they could add to that on Tuesday if they overhaul Australian world champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan to take overall event victory.

And with September’s World Championships on the horizon as well as Rio 2016, Patience admits their performances marked a major step for their partnership.

“We’ve come here and executed everything we meant to and had an amazing regatta so far,” said Patience, who won silver in the 470 class at London 2012 alongside Stuart Bithell.

“There’s still a race to go and an Australian boat to put some heat on to and try and beat. 

“But what we’ve done is create a bit of guessing in the fleet as to what we’ve been doing and why we’ve gone so well, which is great.

“We’ve been on fire speed-wise, we’ve been really accurate with our strategy on the course and more than anything, we’ve executed it exactly as we’ve wanted to.

“Often some of these conditions are still brand new for us as a team, and that’s slowly starting to change. This was a big one for us this week.  We’ve turned some heads, that’s for sure.”

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