The stars of the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games had the opportunity to come face to face with the next generation of sailors last weekend at the RYA Dinghy Show in association with Yachts & Yachting.
Members of the British Sailing Team spent time with visitors to Alexandra Palace on February 29 and March 1 as they looked to inspire the nation ahead of the summer showcase.
Visitors to the annual event also saw the announcement of the 15th and final sailor selected for Team GB as Elliot Hanson was confirmed in the Laser class following his recent fifth place finish at the Worlds in Australia.
Hanson was joined by ten of the sailors who will take on the Games including current 470 world champions Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre as well as John Gimson and Anna Burnet who triumphed in the Nacra 17 at the start of the month.
The British Sailing Team were on hand to present awards, give talks and presentations on a range of topics from sustainability to knot-tying and splicing and available for selfies and poster signings for excited young sailors.
“I’ve been going to the dinghy show since I was a kid,” said McIntyre. “I remember running around trying to get Ben [Ainslie], Iain [Percy] and Bart [Andrew Simpson] signatures and feeling so inspired. Being on the other side was just as amazing.
“To hear about all these kids who sound just like I did – so desperate to go to the Olympics and win – made me realise I want to push even harder. Thank you to everyone who wished us luck it meant so much.”
Windsurfer Matt Barton took time out of his training for the new windfoiling class to take over the Interactive Zone where young visitors could immerse themselves in a 360 ride-along.
Barton said: “It was such a pleasure to see so much passion and enthusiasm for sailing at the Dinghy Show this weekend. The future of British Sailing looks to be in safe hands with so many confident and engaged young sailors.”
Attention for the team now turns to Palma, Spain, with the 470 Worlds and Princess Sofia Trophy a strong focus as preparations continue for Tokyo 2020 this summer.