Mills to defy Rio Zika and water fears

Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games in London

Hannah Mills insists she will defy fears over the Zika virus and Rio’s water quality as the Welsh sailor bids for gold at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Mills and partner Saskia Clarke won 470 class silver at the 2012 London Olympics and hope to go one better in Rio despite well-documented concerns.

The Zika virus has prompted Australian golfer Marc Leishman to be among those to pull out of the Games.

“We’re going to have to learn to deal with it all,” admitted Mills.

“We’re going to be there. All we can do is put the best precautions in place.”

The mosquito-borne Zika virus, centred in north-east Brazil, has been declared a global public health emergency as it spreads through South America and the World Health Organisation is looking into the risks of holding the games in Brazil.

And World Sailing insists the water quality in Rio needs major improvement but two-time world champion Mills said: “We try not to get too involved in all the chat about the water, Zika or all the negative stuff about Rio because there’s nothing we can do

“We’re going to compete unless something radical happens.

“They said they were going to sort the water out and for the people of the city. It’s a shame it hasn’t happened.”

Mills and Clark have had a successful 2016, which included winning gold in the 470 Women’s race on the final day of the World Cup regatta and are looking to use that to spur them on for Rio.

“We’re more mature, we’ve shifted a little bit from London,” added the Cardiff sailor.

“Saskia was the team leader and I was quite young and inexperienced and looked to her for support whereas for Rio we’re a much more even team.

“We both bring different aspects a lot more and get the best out of each other.

“We’ve had a good year so far, we struggled a bit at the World Championships, but we know the reasons why and what was going on there. We feel comfortable with where we’re at.”

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