WITH the London Olympics well under-way Halls Head sailor Kate Lathouras has already begun planning her assault on gold for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Lathouras and her sailing partner Tessa Parkinson hope to compete in the 2016 Games in the 49er FX skiff class event for women; the first time women have been able to compete in the class.
Lathouras has been sailing for six years having competed on top racing yachts throughout high school and in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race with Jessica Watson’s team in 2011.
“My parents got me into sailing when I was 15 at the Mandurah Sailing Club,” Lathouras said
“To begin with I hated it, it was windy and I kept capsizing but after a while I began to really get into it.”
“I was sailing a 420 and I loved it, it was so much fun,” she said.
Lathouras said the Sydney to Hobart yacht race was another great experience.
“It was a really intense four days but the feeling of accomplishment you get at the finish line with everyone waiting is amazing.”
Fellow West Australian Parkinson knows what it takes to be the best having already won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games in the women’s 470 class.
Parkinson began sailing small dinghies off Fremantle when she was just seven going on to skipper at state, national and world championships.
The pair became friends after studying physiotherapy with Parkinson asking Lathouras earlier this year to crew for her in a bid to contend for the 2016 Olympic Games; an opportunity Lathouras said she couldn’t refuse.
“We first sailed together in a short race at the Fireball World Championship in Mandurah and I thought I just love sailing with this girl,” she said.
“She’s a really modest person, really lovely, it’s such a privilege sailing with her,” Lathouras said.
Lathouras said she was considering asking Parkinson if she wanted to try out for the Olympics but when Parkinson asked Lathouras said “it just seemed like it was meant to be”.
“I just wanted to get into it straight away,” she said.
“As a new pairing our first goal is to buy a hull and sail full-time.
“At the moment we both have to work which means we only get a short time in the afternoons to sail.
“It’s going to take a lot of work but it’s something I really want to do.”
Gold medal winner Parkinson said the pair will travel to Italy to compete in the 29er skiff class world championships in September.
She said although the event would not count towards qualifying for the 49er FX skiff class it would give them valuable experience as a team.
“Our next goal is to then compete on the World Cup circuit between February 2013 and January 2014 and finish in the top 10,” Ms Parkinson said.
“After that, we will continue to improve and eventually gain selection in the Australian team for the 2016 Olympic Games.”
Dawesville MLA Kim Hames who is helping the athletes with funding said Lathouras and Parkinson would be starting from scratch so will needed local support to help them on their way.
“As a new partnership, Kate and Tessa are looking to start right now to achieve their Olympic goal of competing at Rio de Janeiro,” he said.
Dr Hames said that anyone interested in assisting or sponsoring the duo can ring Garry Gregan at his electorate office on 9534 3200.