Ben Ainslie winning a Gold medal during the 2011 Regatta

Triple Olympic gold and silver medallist, Ben Ainslie CBE, joined Premiership Rugby Club Harlequins for a pre-season training session today. The sailor was at the club’s training base at Surrey Sports Park to compare fitness programs and to see how the club’s sevens squad are preparing themselves for the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s Series 2011 which kicks off on Friday 15 July at The Recreation Ground in Bath.

Ainslie, who is focusing on his fitness training in his bid to compete at the London Olympic Games in 2012, joined England sevens player Ollie Lindsay-Hague and the rest of the club’s sevens squad for an intensive, four hour training session. The training included a conditioning session, aimed at the athlete’s aerobic fitness, followed by a session in the Sports Park’s science unit to test Ainslie’s vision and decision making ability. After a short break the training continued with some strength work in the gym and a series of ball handling drills on the club’s practices pitches.

Ainslie, a keen rugby fan, who recently won gold in the Finn class at this year’s Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, qualifying him for the Olympic Test in August, commented:

“Today was physically very challenging but hugely enjoyable. Since Team Origin closed down in November last year I’ve been working every day for the last seven months to get my fitness levels as high as possible. I’m pretty happy with where I am but there’s always room for improvement, one of the key areas for me is body weight as I have to bulk up an extra 10 kilos of muscle to compete in the Finn, so being with the Quins sevens squad today and seeing how they train during pre-season has been an invaluable experience. I’ve definitely learnt a few new things which I’m going to include in my current fitness regime going forward. It’s always good to meet new people too and I’m looking forward to seeing Ollie and the rest of the boys compete in the J.P. Morgan Sevens later in the summer.”

Harlequins Assistant Academy Manager and sevens coach, Howard Graham, said:

“Having Britain’s most decorated Olympic sailor attend one of our training sessions is a huge boost for the squad and has given our sevens players a real lift as they prepare for the J.P. Morgan Sevens. As expected, Ben worked really hard and took to the conditioning and fitness sessions like a duck to water. He’s clearly very focussed on getting himself in the best possible shape to defend his Olympic title.”

Harlequins winger and England sevens player, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, commented:

“It’s not every day you get to train with a world class athlete so today has been a very special experience for me and the lads. As an Olympic athlete Ben keeps himself very fit, so we weren’t the least bit surprised with how well he coped with the conditioning training and some of the gym work. He’s a very impressive man and a fine athlete. It was great to get a few stories out of him about his Olympic experiences and how he prepares both physically and mentally ahead of competition. The lads in the sevens squad will certainly take a lot out of today as we prepare for the J.P. Morgan sevens in July.”