British windsurfer Bryony Shaw has endured a tough year battling illness but does not believe the setback will keep her off the London 2012 podium.
The 29-year-old,who grew up in Oxford, is the only British woman to have won an Olympic windsurfing medal, having taken bronze at the Beijing Games four years ago.
Shaw, who starts her ten rounds of racing on her home waters of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour on Tuesday, has been hampered by a nagging chest infection.
The illness wiped her out from the beginning of February until the end of March, before rearing its head again for a few more weeks after the recent Sail for Gold regatta.
“In terms of this year, it has been quite a setback but I feel great now,” Shaw said.
“I feel great physically, emotionally and health-wise so actually I think I will be able to bounce back from it.
“My transformation as a windsurfer since Beijing and my natural athleticism from the genes I got from my parents and being a full-time athlete for ten years, has really given me a good enough body
to sort of overcome this.
“My strength and conditioning trainer says that even though I have had these weeks off, I can go back in there after a week of lifting weights and I am back up to a good level.
“I think those measures that the team around me can give me, gives me that confidence and I certainly know I am sailing the board fast.
“Although you need to be fit, healthy and well, I think a lot of that is that real finesse and technique that I have been acquiring over these years and really ingraining. Hopefully it won't be an
However, Shaw does take issue with the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) after their recent decision to drop windsurfing for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro in place of kiteboarding.
“It is devastating that it will no longer be in the Games,” she said.
“I think it has put a bit of a downer on these Games. I think the timing of the decision was unfortunate.
“For me, I have tried to spin it into a positive and heighten my focus for Lonodon 2012, but it is a loss of a great sport.
“I am sure we will showcase how great it can all look and all the fans of the sport can experience a great spectacle.”