By Tom Degun

Megan-PascoeFebruary 10 - British sailor Megan Pascoe says she is already focused on securing a spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympics after agonisingly missing out on the chance to compete in front of a home crowd at London 2012.

After a battle for the sole London 2012 ParalympicsGB spot in the 2.4mR category, Pascoe lost out to rival Helena Lucas, who went on to win gold at the Games.

Pascoe, who has a form of cerebral palsy which affects one side of her body, was partly unsuccessful in her battle with Lucus for the Paralympic spot after she suffered a major fall in January 2012 that was caused by a seizure while racing in Florida.

Following accident, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the national governing body for sailing, ruled that she could not sail independently for the next six months, meaning that she missed out on the chance to qualify for London 2012.

But despite the disappointment, the 26-year-old has set her sights on making the ParalympicsGB team for Rio 2016 and got off to a strong early start with a victory in the 2.4mR category in the recent World Cup in Miami.

"I knew I was sailing well and had the potential to finish strongly, but it was nice to win," she told BBC Sport.

"It was disappointing to miss London but things are going the right way for me in the build-up to Rio.

"I had a good performance in September at the 2.4mR World Championships in Italy, where I won bronze, and since then I've changed a few things and this victory leaves me as the leading Briton in the category."

Helena-LucasHelena Lucas won gold at the London 2012 Paralympics after holding off rival Megan Pascoe for the sole 2.4mR category spot of the ParalympicsGB team

With only one place per country available for each of the three Paralympic classes of 2.4mR, Sonar and Skud-18, Pascoe admits it has been difficult losing out to Lucas not only at London 2012, but also at Beijing 2008, although admitted that it is good for competition.

"Having only one spot available in the class is good when it comes to training and competition but it is hard to be in the top six in the world and not make it to a Paralympics," she said.

"The rules are clear so it means you do have to raise your game and keep working hard and you definitely can't be complacent."

And despite not making London 2012, Pascoe admits that the impact of a home Paralympics, where ParalympicsGB won a gold and a bronze medal, means that the sport is being taken more seriously.

"Since London, people understand Paralympic sport a lot more and when you win medals at big competitions, people know and understand that you are the best," she said.

"The medals the team won in London have played a big part in helping secure our funding for the next cycle up to Rio.

"We have worked a lot with the Olympic programme and the whole squad has benefitted from that and there is a lot of support there which makes our job as sailors a lot easier and hopefully we can build on that."

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February 2013: Pascoe stars in 2.4 mR event at ISAF Sailing World Cup
Januaary 2012: Megan Pascoe's London 2012 Paralympic dream over after Florida fall