Goodison’s challenge

PAUL Goodison might be the reigning Olympic Laser champion, but the Sheffield sailor insists he will spend the next 11 months concocting a formula to down a rival who has made the London 2012 waters a home away from home.

The 33-year-old was in action at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta last week, the London 2012 test event, and proved he is more than capable of defending his Olympic title next year by picking up bronze.

But he was helpless to stop Australian Tom Slingsby from storming to gold, the reigning world champion’s fourth consecutive victory on the Olympic waters.

Goodison knows first-hand that winning is a habit – in the build-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing he was unstoppable, arriving in Qingdao as the undisputed No.1 in the competitive fleet.

And with that in mind Goodison knows he faces a race against time to catch his adversary from Down Under, but has vowed to do all he can to make it happen.

“It’s good for character to show that you can finish strong, that you can pick yourself up when you are down, but I know I need to address starting off regattas better,” said Goodison, who also picked up bronze at June’s Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta – held at the same venue. “It’s not been great in the last two regattas and it’s something I desperately need to put right for 11 months time.

“The big pressure here has been just trying to medal. That’s been the real focus because selection is in the back of your mind, and all the issues that come with that.

“Hopefully I can get that all done and dusted as soon as possible, and then concentrate on winning that Olympic gold again. However, Tom has sailed tremendously the last two regattas and we need to all have a good look at ourselves and work out how we’re going to beat him.”

Goodison doesn’t have to wait long for another crack at Slingsby, with December’s World Championships in Perth on the horizon.

But the 2009 world champion insists revenge against Slingby in his back yard isn’t high on the agenda with the bigger picture of London 2012 firmly planted in his mind.

“I’m not quite sure of the plans for Perth, it depends what happens selection-wise,” he added. “Perth, in reality, is probably not going to mean much. It’s about getting the best you can in Weymouth.

“We’re going to go there as a learning process and try to get better for 12 months’ time.”

Investment specialist Skandia is the principal sponsor of the British sailing team. For more information go to www.skandiateamgbr.com