Rhu’s Luke Patience has targeted a medal at the Rio Olympics for his old partner Elliot Willis, who was diagnosed with cancer in November.

Patience was Willis’ partner until that time – forcing him to form a new partnership with Chris Grube, and re-qualify for the Olympics.

The British pair are confident they will perform on the big stage in the Men’s 470 class.

Patience, speaking to the Royal Yacht Association (RYA), said: “I’m doing it for several reasons and one of them is Elliot.

“So whatever happens, and certainly if there is any success in August he is wholeheartedly part of that.

“He is completely a part of it because it never would have happened without him.

“I mean it’s not fair, it’s tragic isn’t it? It’s a young fit guy, and the world is cruel sometimes.

“I still don’t even know what I think of it now.

“More than anything else I hope he recovers “And in the same breath I hope that what I got to do at Rio with Chris, Elliot is a part of that"

The duo will compete in the preliminary races on 10-15 August, and will hope to qualify for the final on Wednesday, August 17.

Speaking to RYA, Grube said: “I was actually busy mothing at the time, sailing an international moth, trying to get myself up to speed in that, and that quickly turned to the 470 and heading out to Rio with Luke “I think we will medal.

“If things go really well I think we could be up and challenging for the top step on the podium.

“I can’t wait, it’s a big deal, we don’t want to go and just get the t-shirt.

“Elliot is a friend of everyone on the team and I feel like all I can do is my best to carry on his legacy in the boat.”

Patience, who won a silver medal at London 2012, said that the last few months have been manic, and he won’t stop to think about everything till it’s all over.

Patience added: “Chris and I are trying to fast track this and we have [been] together seven months. Some of our competitors have been together for seven years, 15 years.

“I don’t know if I know yet how manic it is, I think when this all stops I’ll realise how full on this period has been.

“To arrive on the start line in race one, I’ll look around and expect to be able to say I’ve worked harder than everyone that I’m on there with.”