By Tom Degun

Ben_Ainslie_head_and_shouldersMay 14 - Triple Olympic champion Ben Ainslie (pictured) has criticised the decision by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to drop the Star class from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The 34-year-old Briton won silver at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and gold in the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the Laser class before he put on 40 pounds (18 kg) and moved to the larger Finn class for Athens 2004 where he won gold.

He stayed a Finn class for Beijing 2008 and won gold again while fellow Britain's Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson won Star gold in the Chinese capital.

Ainslie admitted was considering a switch to the Star from the Finn after the London 2012 Olympics but the new ruling appears to have scuppered his plans and he admits he is very confused by the new ruling.

"I'm disappointed," Ainslie told the BBC in an interview.

"I think you will lose a lot of the top sailors from the Olympics.

"I think it's a big shame and I really don't fully understand the decision.

"There have been massive changes in the last three to five years and real turmoil in the sport, I think it would be really good to get some focus now and move forwards."

The decision to drop the Star was one of a number of controversial revisions, announced at ISAF at their mid-year meeting in Russia which included axing the Elliott 6m class for Rio 2016, which means there will be no keelboat fleets in Brazil.

Since its debut at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Star has missed just one Games, Montreal in 1976.

It was provisionally dropped before the 2000 Games in Sydney before being reinstated but a reprieve is not expected this time around.

Meanwhile the ISAF ruling means the Elliott 6m class that the London 2012 Games will be the first and last Olympic outing for the event.

It replaced the Yngling fleet which is the event that Britain's Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb won gold in Athens 2004 before Ayton and Webb were joined by Pippa Wilson to repeat the success at Beijing 2008.

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