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Saskia's success down to hard work and dedication
Saskia Clark’s Olympic silver medal success has not come overnight.
Years of dedication, training and some tears have formed the backbone of her fight for Games glory.
Clark, 32, began her sailing career at the Dabchicks Sailing Club in her home town of West Mersea .
She took part in the club’s Sunset Series beginners section, Port Fleet, at the age of eight.
One of her early instructors, and a family friend, Ray Smith remembers those early days out on the water.
He said: “I’ve known her for a long time, my children used to sail with her big sister.
“The first few times out on the water my main memory is that she didn’t want to go.
“She would make a lot of noise saying she didn’t want to go.
“We encouraged her and got her on the water and from there on she gradually got better and better.”
But Smith wasn’t sure at that time whether he was watching a future Olympic medallist in action.
He added: “I was asked the other day did I spot her talent early – I didn’t.
“She had as much talent as the rest of them, she was certainly not outstanding and it wasn’t for a few years that she came on.”
Smith puts Clark’s success down to her work ethic, he said: “It’s definitely hard work and dedication and working through the system, just developing as time goes on.”
But Clark didn’t only concentrate on her own success and would regularly help out with the training of other children.
Smith said: “She followed on after that (Sunset Series) by coming back to Cadet Week and she would sail with the cadets in Mersea Week. “In her teenage years she would come and help me when I went to teach sailing at other clubs.
“So she has always been a good friend and helper.
“She always comes back to the Dabchicks when she can and gives a talk to the kids.”
See Monday's Gazette for our seven pages of Olympic coverage.