Paris hopeful Snellgrove restless while recovering from spine injury

·3-min read
Hannah Snellgrove is determined to get her Paris preparations back on track as soon as possible (© Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofía Mallorca)

Patience is a virtue sailor Hannah Snellgrove simply does not possess writes Ben Hart.

The Lymington-born star has been forced to swap waves for weights this summer following a spine injection for a disc issue but the Paris 2024 hopeful has been gradually ramping up her recovery at the National Sports Centre in Bisham Abbey.

Her return to the water is planned for the end of August – a date that cannot come soon enough.

“I’m terrible at being patient,” joked the 32-year-old. “I always want to do more all the time and sometimes you have to rein it in a little bit.

“But I’m enjoying it at Bisham, you’re definitely treated as an athlete as opposed to an injured person and you push on which is quite nice. Sometimes you have to go day by day as injury recovery is never as linear as we would like it to be.”

The issue flared up in February, having first troubled her in 2014, but that did not stop Snellgrove claiming a World Cup Series silver in the spring.

And there have been some perks to Snellgrove’s prolonged break in Berkshire, which has seen her undergoing her rehabilitation alongside various swimmers and sprinters, developing her understanding of the challenges other elite athletes face.

Her stay in Bisham also coincided with the Commonwealth Games, fuelling the three-time national champion’s desire to realise a lifetime ambition and participate at the Olympics.

“It’s quite cool being around athletes from other sports,” she explained.

“It’s cool to learn from them, I enjoy that part of it. The different pressures each sport brings.

“It’s cool to learn about the different selection policies, what people have to focus on physically, whether that’s agility, power or just hours doing their sport. They were quite surprised I had such a strong core.

“We watched the Commonwealth Games and it does feel like the Olympics in a way. You can’t help but have that little fire inside when you see people stand on the podium after a load of hard work and all the emotions that come with that.

“It’s nice to see people achieving their goals and performing on a big stage and I’m hoping that in a couple years that might be me.”

To reach Paris, Snellgrove must first see off competition within her own team, with only one spot for each class of boat available per country.

The team’s interest comes first, however. A supportive environment is in place in the ILCA 6 class, or women’s singlehanded dinghy, to ensure the best possible result for whoever makes it to the start line in the Marseille Marina, be that Snellgrove, or teammates Daisy Collingridge and Matilda Nicholls.

“We work really well together, share information and look out for each other. Whoever goes to Paris will have two really good training partners,” she added.

And after October’s World Championships in Houston, Snellgrove is determined to secure qualification for Paris and make up for lost time.

“From a results perspective, it feels like everything is clicking on the water,” she said.

“I don’t just want to go and make up the numbers, I want to go with a realistic chance of being on the podium.”

The British Sailing Team are the most successful national Olympic sailing team of all time and will proudly fly the flag for Great Britain at Paris 2024