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Freya Black wins first major medal as countdown to 2024 Olympics in Paris continues

Tunbridge Wells’ Freya Black revelled in her first major senior sailing medal following a brilliant bronze at the 49erFX European Championship in La Grand Motte.

This summer’s Olympic debutant, who turns 23 later this month, battled through tough conditions alongside seasoned partner Saskia Tidey as they aim to peak at the perfect time ahead of Paris 2024.

Saskia Tidey (left) and Freya Black won bronze at the 49erFX European Championship in La Grand Motte
Saskia Tidey (left) and Freya Black won bronze at the 49erFX European Championship in La Grand Motte

The Marseille-bound duo climbed three places from sixth to third on the penultimate day of racing and held their nerve for a place on the podium.

Black credited the performance to the pair’s strong level of consistency as she reflected on her high-achieving feats in France.

She said: “It was amazing to get my first senior medal so I’m really happy.

“It was a tough week, we had every single condition coming at us so it was rewarding to come away with the third.

“It shows a well-rounded team in us and how we’re trying to be as consistent as possible at the moment and that’s important.

“We just kept chipping away at places so it was great to come away with four solid races which proves how impressive it is in this particular fleet.

“It definitely feels amazing and to do it in an Olympic year is pretty cool.

“Everything has been working towards the Olympics and every event has been a learning opportunity.

“It feels great to have that medal as a motivational push into the games now.”

Black need not look far for inspiration with Tidey set to make it a hat-trick of Olympic appearances in the summer.

The pair finished 14th at the World Championship in Lanzarote earlier in the year and feel they have hit a turning point in their quest for Olympic glory.

Black, who pressed pause on her studies at Exeter University this year to ramp up Marseille preparations, said: “We’ve improved a lot of things since the World Championship but the Worlds didn’t go our way and that’s sailing, not always working out the way you planned.

“We had quite a few different wind conditions which will be the same this summer so it’s cool to be able to go through a range of conditions and not just have one super strength.

“We’re really happy to try and stay as consistent as possible and not let the bad races drag you down.

“The fleet is so tight in racing that anything can happen when you’re racing against the best.”

Follow the British Sailing Team on Instagram at @britishsailing

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