SWINDON sailor Hanna Brant insists she will make the most of her time on the big stage at this month’s Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.
The first time 15-year-old Brant took to the water she knew it wasn’t going to be the last.
That was five years ago and now she is gearing up for the biggest competition of her fledgling career as she prepares to jet off to China to compete for Team GB in the Youth Olympic Games.
It all came about when Brant finished as the third-highest female, and sixth overall, in the Byte II category at the World Championships in Riva del Garda back in April.
And Brant admits the Games, which will take place in Nanjing between August 16 and 28, are about as far away as she can get from first setting sail with her dad when she was just 10-years-old.
“I’ve known that I would be going to China for about two months that I would be going but I couldn’t say anything which was difficult,” said Brant, who is now a member of Oxford Sailing Club.
“I didn’t really believe it at first but now that it’s sunk in a bit it’s given me so much confidence.
“I think I’m just going to go out there now and do as well as I can and hopefully make an impact.
“To go and represent Team GB at the Youth Olympics is just incredible and I’m so excited.
“This will be the biggest event I have ever been to and the whole atmosphere is going to be amazing.
“We had to go to Italy to qualify at the Worlds and I finished third and was just so happy.”
Brant harbours ambitions to sail at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and says that the opportunity to go to China and sample the Games atmosphere is one that can help propel her closer to that goal.
And while Nanjing might be a far cry from home waters she says she’ll never forget her first moments on a boat.
“I’ve been sailing since I was 10 and my dad was a big sailor so he got me into it,” she added.
“I remember watching him sail a lot and one day he just asked me if I wanted to go out on the water with him.
“I went along and it was incredible. It was so exhilarating to have the wind in your hair and I had so much fun.
“I still feel that when I’m out there now and that’s what keeps me going out there.
“I would love to go to the Olympics one day and this has given me so much confidence that I can make it to 2020.”
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic Values. www.teamgb.com