Hannah Mills: Olympic sailing champion returns to action

Hannah Mills
Hannah Mills has not yet decided whether to switch boats permanently from the 470 to the 49erFX class

Olympic sailing champion Hannah Mills has returned to competition for the first time since claiming gold in Rio last August.

A concussion and stomach problems meant Mills, 29, has been out of action since her triumph in Brazil.

But this week she is competing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in the Netherlands in the 49erFX class with Alain Sign, and was eighth after the first day.

"It was great and so nice to be back in competition," said Mills.

"That's what you live for and love. It was cool to be out racing with 20 boats around you, trying to remember how you do it."

After Rio, Mills had initially started back sailing in January and changed boats to the 49erFX class after winning 470 gold in Rio with Saskia Clark, who has retired.

But Mills suffered two setbacks after suffering concussion in January and was then forced to miss the Trofeo Princesa Sofía event in late March with stomach problems.

The helm was forced to have a gastroscopy and was told to rest for at least the next 10 days before returning to the water.

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Now Mills is back with Sign in the mixed event and completed the first day of four before the medal race on Sunday.

After this event, Mills will have to decide whether to concentrate on the 49erFX or 470 category in her bid for World Championship glory this summer and find a female crew for either event.

Mills had set her sights on switching boats for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but is still weighing up her options for this calendar year.

She will compete in a 470 regatta with a new partner in Santander, before returning to the 49erFX with Sign in Germany.

"I am mixing it up a little bit," said Mills. "I am keeping it fun and myself motivated for this first year of the Olympics cycle.

"It's hard to say what I will do this year. I am taking it day by day, learning as much as I can.

"The 49erFX World Championships is in September while the 470 is in July.

"There is a bit of time between them but we will just see happens, we will re-evaluate this weekend and reassess the goals."

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