SJA lunch with double Olympic gold medallist Ainslie

It is Olympic year, and the SJA’s first sporting lunch of 2008 is touched with gold: Ben Ainslie, winner of Olympic sailing titles in 2000 and 2004 and one of Britain’s best hopes for a gold medal in Beijing this summer.

Ainslie will be joining us for lunch at the Old Bank of England pub in Fleet Street from 12.30pm (1pm sit down) on Thursday, February 7, and you can be there too for an excellent media opportunity on Ainslie’s return from his latest regatta in Australia.

Places at the lunch are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Priority will be given to fully paid-up members of the SJA.

Ainslie is only 30, yet his two golds and one silver from three Olympics almost makes him Britain’s most be-medalled sailor since Nelson.

Four times named Britain’s Yachtsman of the Year, earlier this month, Ainslie got his chance to win a third Olympic gold medal when he was named as Britain’s representative at the Beijing Games in the Finn class, after a tough sail-off against the current European champion in the class, Ed Wright. Since Athens in 2004, Ainslie has been spending an increasing amount of time in boats built for more than a single-handed sailor, and last September he was named as the skipper of TeamOrigin, Britain’s Challenge for the next America’s Cup.

You will be able to ask Ainslie about this and the more immediate, Olympic challenge at the SJA lunch. Ainslie will be available for an on-the-record question and answer session over coffee after lunch. By being staged on a Thursday, we hope that our Sunday newspaper colleagues are also keen to attend.

This is not a sponsored event, nor does Ainslie have a book to sell or an agenda to follow – this SJA Sports Lunch is there for our members to generate some real copy on real sport.

Lunch – two courses and a glass of wine or beer – costs £22 for SJA members, £25 for non-members (another example of why joining the SJA offers you immediate financial benefit to defray your membership fee).

Please hurry to book by contacting Trevor Bond on 07980 515395, or via e-mail at

To find out more about Ainslie, visit his website by clicking here, or read Steve Bierley’s profile piece from The Guardian last month by clicking here

Click here to read about our Sports Lunches staged in 2007.

Your SJA subscription is due NOW – click here if you have not paid already for details of how to make your payment