Seaton is focused on Olympic ambition

CARRICK sailing star Ryan Seaton has already fulfilled one dream of qualifying for the Olympics. Now he wants to go one better and return home with a medal.

After a strong performance alongside Bangor’s Matt McGovern in last year’s World Championships in Austrailia, Seaton is riding the crest of a wave and harbouring big ambitions to claim a podium place at the Olympics.

The Irish duo, who will compete in the 49er class, secured spot at the Games late last year, qualifying at the Worlds in Perth. Since then, their focus has been on London and when they take to the waters off the coast of Weymouth, they will set their sights on one thing and one thing only: bringing home a medal.

When the Times caught up with Seaton earlier this year, he maintained they weren’t going to the Games just to make up the numbers.

Their dedication to their dream has meant a lot of sacrifices along the way. Not only have they undertaken and intensive and rigorous training and fitness regime, but they have also put their university studies on hold.

“Our first goal was to qualify the country and get to the Olympics. All of the Olympic competitors were there at the World Championships and we finished as the sixth nation so we were very close on points to getting a medal. We are going to the Olympics to try and get a medal. We’re really in with a good chance,” he said.

The Seaton-McGovern partnerhship was formed four years ago and, as part of the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland, where they undergo strength and conditioning coaching, there really hasn’t been a day that has gone by when they haven’t been put through their paces.

“It’s all down to hard work; we didn’t really expect to be were we are at this stage because we have only been sailing together for four years and we’ve really made a vast improvement over the past two years,” said Ryan.

The 49er class is the fastest and most exciting of the Olympic sailing events. Seaton describes it as the ‘formula one’ of sailing. The boat reaches speeds of up to 30 mph on the water, so it’s exciting for spectators.

“We’re going there to get a medal. We’re not going there to make up the numbers.

“Having been training since I was 15, putting the hours in at the gym, it was just a big relief to qualify for the games. It was really a dream come true. We’re so happy just to have qualified but we know there’s a lot of hard work still to be done.”

“Winning an Olympic medal would mean the world to me. It’s something that I have dreamed of. I just want to come home with a medal and be proud of it and show everyone what we achieved,” he added.

Seaton and McGovern begin their competition on Monday, July 30 at noon.

You can follow the pair on Twitter: @Irish49er

Report by John Gillespie | @Times_Sport

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