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2024 Paris Olympic Games: Lymington sailor Hannah Snellgrove keeps head high on injury return

LYMINGTON sailor Hannah Snellgrove has been through the mill while recovering from a back injury but still wanted more from the Olympic test event in Marseille, France.

Snellgrove (32) finished ninth in the ILCA 6 class, qualifying for the medal race but too far back to make the podium.

That saw her miss out on her personal goal of being in the mix for medals in the final race, but after a severe back injury, she was realistic it would always be a challenge.

Sailor Hannah Snellgrove made the final day's medal race but missed out on a podium finish (Photo: World Sailing)
Sailor Hannah Snellgrove made the final day's medal race but missed out on a podium finish (Photo: World Sailing)

She said: “I have mixed feelings about the week, to be honest. I came into this regatta wanting to make the medal race with a shot of the podium, and I made the medal race, but unfortunately, after a big score in the first race, medals were out of the question.

“I didn’t hit my goal, but I am happy to be included in the top 10. It is the first time I have made a medal race since I had a long time out after I hurt my back last year, so it would be wrong not to celebrate that as a win.

“It is a very different vibe from what you get at normal regattas, and I made a conscious effort before the regatta started to decide to enjoy that because I think if you go into it with the approach that it is really different, then it is more likely to derail you I think.

“I think the biggest thing for me is doing what works for me and what I know works for me in terms of my individual competition routines in a slightly different environment; there is more media interest, there is more stuff to do off the water, going through mixed zones and things like that, so that is probably the biggest takeaway for me I think.”

An injury to two of her discs left her off the water for several months in spring last year, and now Snellgrove is beginning to feel back to normal again.

Her timing to return to full fitness could hardly have come at a better time, with the Olympics a year away and the World Championships in the Netherlands next month.

“I’m excited for the next year. There have been glimmers recently in the boat of feeling like the old me pre-back injury,” she added.

“There is a lot of work to do, but I feel like I can narrow that down to a couple of areas of performance, which is quite positive, so I am excited.”

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