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British Sailing Team continue battle for Olympic places

British Sailing Team continue battle for Olympic places

With Nick Thompson battling for the World Laser title in Canada, Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre just back with a Bronze medal from the 470 Europeans in Denmark, British Sailing Team members will continue on the Olympic classes World and European Championship circuit with the Nacra 17 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark and the 49er Europeans in Porto, Portugal.

The next test event for the Rio Olympics is in mid August and the RYA has already announced its team to compete (except for the women’s RS:X and the men’s Laser) and what will be the likely basis for the 2016 Olympic team.

This series of championships in 2015 are really a last chance for anyone hoping to break into the provisional team line-up to make their case, and for team boss Stephen Park to gather more information to base his final selection on.

Of the two vacant Rio team places: Bryony Shaw recently won the RS:X European title, comfortably beating her young challenger Isobel Hamilton, and Nick Thompson is currently holding fourth at the on-going Laser Worlds.

In the 49er Europeans, Podium squad crews John Pink-Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign will be among the names to watch in the battle for honours. Pink and Bithell have already got the nod for the Rio Test Event, but Fletcher and Sign will not be giving up hope of a trip to the Rio Games just yet.

The 49er event has never provided gold at Olympic level for Britain and the Rio choice still looks a close run thing between these two teams.

In the Nacra17 class, John Gimson and Hannah Diamond are named for the Rio Test Event and a total of four British pairings will contest the World Championship for the mixed multihull.

This new Olympic class is a hotbed of top world class competitors from other multihull classes and from competitors converting to the class as way in to the Olympics outside of the established events.

Stephen Park has followed a policy of mix and match with his British squad of top class crews. Diamond, who won silver with Ben Saxton at the inaugural Worlds in 2013, is now sailing with John Gimson and they recently finished fifth at the Weymouth World Series in a top class fleet.

Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves, Lucy Macgregor-Dave Evans and Tom Phipps-Nicola Boniface will join them in Aarhus, each pair still looking for a breakthrough performance to upset the status quo.British Sailing Team continue battle for Olympic places

British Sailing Team entries for the Nacra 17 World Championship:
John Gimson-Hannah Diamond
Ben Saxton-Nicola Groves
Lucy Macgregor-Dave Evans
Tom Phipps-Nicola Boniface

British Sailing Team entries for the 49er European Championship:
John Pink-Stuart Bithell
Dylan Fletcher-Alain Sign
James Peters-Fynn Sterritt
Chris Taylor-Sam Batten
Jack Hawkins-Chris Thomas
Rory Hunter-Neil Hunter

With just one boat per nation, per class permitted to enter, the Rio Test Event regatta replicates Olympic-style racing at the Games venue, and the eight crews named are to date are:

Finn – Giles Scott
RS:X Men – Nick Dempsey
470 Men – Luke Patience and Elliot Willis
470 Women – Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark
49er – John Pink and Stuart Bithell
49erFX – Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth
Nacra 17 – John Gimson and Hannah Diamond
Laser Radial – Alison Young.

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