Martin Wrigley is proving that anyone can sail their way to the Olympics

·4-min read
Martin Wrigley as part of the British Sailing Team. (Lloyd Images)

Martin Wrigley knows his back-story and route into sailing is far from the usual journey of an Olympic hopeful – and that’s why he believes he is more determined than his rivals.

The 25-year-old knows that he's an exception from the usual family-based involvement in the sport and is proud of how far he's come from to achieve his international status.

And the Hereford sailor's talent on the water rivals his Harry Potter references, he has now partnered up with Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre for the new mixed 470 event on route to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Speaking ahead of the upcoming World and European Championships, he said: "We've been friends since I joined the programme, so I've watched quite closely her journey and how hard she's had to work and a lot of the tears as well.

"So, as soon as it went mixed it was kind of the obvious decision. We're both striving for perfection and we're quite happy to say something if it means that it's going to make us better.

"But with that in mind, because we're quite good friends, we're good at making it an enjoyable time.

"And I think that does transfer into our sailing, it's a mental gain that if you enjoy it then you're in such a better position, you feel so much more relaxed and you end up having some pretty horrific moments together and you end learning through that."

Wrigley was training partner to 470 sailors Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the build-up to the Tokyo 2020 Games and hopes that it will be him on the plane to Paris in two years time.

With the 470-class now mixed, Wrigley and McIntyre are in unprecedented waters with little competition to base their training off but the pair are looking to cook up a spell ahead of the World Championships in October.

He said: "It's a weird one because this is the first year in this class, so it's hard to say where we are form wise but I think we're just keeping our head down and working on what we need to and hopefully it all comes together when it needs to.

"The big one for us is Israel at the end of October so Europeans in September will be the steppingstone.

"I think it would be a lie if we said we didn't want to medal at every event we went to, especially as Eilidh's just come off the back of an Olympic gold medal.

"But ultimately the first year for us is about creating a solid team and a stable platform for us to go for the next two years."

Partnered with the Olympic Champion, Wrigley has high hopes for succeeding on the international stage but can almost hardly believe that he's made it so far, his vision for perfection ultimately landing him on the path to Paris.

And for a self-confessed sailing ‘mud-blood’, the idea of the Olympic Games is almost too good to be true.

Wrigley said: "My first memory of the Games was probably Beijing, that's when I was competing so I think I was doing my first ever national championships.

"And so I remember watching vividly as they were hauling up medals like they were going out of fashion, we were so successful that Olympics.

"As a kid I was just gobsmacked by what you could do with your life and that it was actually achievable and that I could do it.

"It's this global stage and an achievement that everyone understands. Everyone understands an Olympic medal.

"It’s the one event where you could win the 100m sprint or you could win a 470 Regatta and you get the same medal as Usain Bolt."

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