Lowestoft’s Nic Asher misses out on London 2012 Olympics
Lowestoft's Nic Asher has missed out on a place at the Olympics for the second time running.
The 25-year-old, who began his sailing career on Oulton Broad, had hoped to be included when Team GB named the remaining places in their sailing squad for London 2012 yesterday.
But it was Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell who were selected to compete in the men's 470 Class, the British Olympic Association announced, 200 days before the opening ceremony of the Games.
Patience and Bithell beat off the challenge of double world champions Asher and Elliott Willis as well as Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers, sailing with Chris Grube.
Asher – from Carlton Colville and a member of Waveney and Oulton Broad Yacht Club – had described the worst moment of his sailing career as missing out on selection for the 2008 Olympics.
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Back then, in the build-up to Beijing, he and Willis were the leading contenders for the GB place when Willis suffered an injury that led to them missing out. Team Asher/Willis won the 470 World Championships in 2006 and 2008.
Asher battled back from a rare and debilitating illness last year; having won the opening World Cup regatta in a pivotal 2011 sailing season, last May he was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroiditis – a strength-sapping condition that causes the immune system to react against the thyroid gland.
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Despite all their efforts towards the end of 2011, the pair finished outside the medals at the 470 World Championships in Australia – with Patience and Bithell finishing in second place overall to effectively seal their GB spot.
Team GB sailing team leader Stephen Park said: 'Luke and Stuart are a classic example of how getting the right complement of skill-sets for helm and crew in the boat can really launch sailors' careers.'