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Olympic champ takes tough road to London

9 July 2012

SAILING: Olympic sailing champion Elise Rechichi's preparations for the London Games couldn't be any more different from four years ago.

The West Australian, who won gold in 2008 in the 470 class, went to Beijing full of confidence after a series of strong results with teammate Tessa Parkinson in the build-up to the Games.

This time around, an injury to new partner Belinda Stowell hampered Rechichi's lead-up to London, creating plenty of self-doubt over her chances of defending her Olympic title.

"To be honest, until three weeks ago, every day was getting harder and harder because we were getting one day closer and I really felt like it was, at that point, no shot," Rechichi told AAP.

"I've got a different teammate to Beijing and she injured her back at the first World Cup event in March this year when we should have been on the podium.

"We'd really started building some momentum being a new team at the point she got injured and it basically took out eight weeks, missed the next World Cup event, the World Championships - really wasn't looking great."

A recently-completed six-week training stint at the Olympic venue in Weymouth, however, has rebuilt Rechichi's confidence somewhat, ensuring she goes over to England hopeful of more success.

"There were just a few days where there were a few good signs and we were able to take positivity from that and build on it," she said.

"Three weeks later, we got to a place I wouldn't have thought was possible four weeks ago ... cautiously confident that we've turned it around enough that hopefully we'll be in with a shot."

The 26-year-old is enjoying a short stint back home before departing for London, spending this weekend in Townsville supporting boyfriend and V8 Supercar driver Karl Reindler before a stop in hometown Perth on her way to England.

"I love home, I know that it's good for me and the last six weeks have been tough on my brain and our bodies so a week off the water is definitely a good thing," she said.

"It's great to come and support Karl in Townsville, as he said to me yesterday it gets my brain off what's going on and onto something else for a few days. It's been good."

Ed Jackson
AAP

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Elise Rechichi
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