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Risk pays off for sailing's Grube after World silver

Grube and Heathcote were competing in only their second event together
Grube and Heathcote were competing in only their second event together (© Bernardí Bibiloni)

Sailing star Chris Grube believes the risk of returning from retirement has paid off after winning 470 World Championship silver, writes Sportsbeat's Milly McEvoy.

The 38-year-old partnered Vita Heathcote and they finished second in the mixed 470 in Mallorca, which also secured a quota spot for Team GB at the Paris Olympics.

The pair were competing in just their second regatta together but now Chester athlete Grube has a chance to get a medal at his third Olympics, having twice finished fifth.

“It is pretty amazing, actually,” Grube said: “We've had a lot of injury and illness between the two of us which has just meant that it has been really hard to get a consistent training programme together.

“But we raced really well in the last World Championships, that was the last event we did together.

“We know we can race well when it counts and we managed to do that this week, which is great.

"Whenever you step away from something it is very hard to know whether you've made the right decision coming back.

“There's been moments where I've had self-doubt and asked am I really making the right decision?

“Ultimately, this gives me a real confidence boost that Vita and I are on the right trajectory.”

Grube and Heathcote started strongly in Mallorca, with two top-three finishes, including a win, in the first five races to advance to the gold group.

There, they were extremely consistent and only finished outside the top 10 once in six races to climb up the rankings to second.

With the medal race cancelled due to high winds, Grube and Heathcote were confirmed as silver medallists.

Grube’s former training partner Martin Wrigley finished ninth alongside Bettine Harris to confirm Britain as the top nation at the regatta.

And he believes the teamwork between the pairs helped bring home a medal.

He added: “Martin and I are great friends and we know each other well, so we've pushed each other really hard.

“That's been great to see. I think that's the reason why we've got the qualification place is that we've worked so closely together.

“Whereas other teams haven’t, they're all battling for a spot at the Olympics but ultimately, if you don't get the country qualified then you're not going anywhere.

“So that's always been the priority. I think as well you just have confidence on the day, that you're going to do it and that's certainly the case for us.”

Follow the British Sailing Team on Instagram at @britishsailing