SAILING: Swindon teenager dreams of Olympic medal
SWINDON sailor Hanna Brant says that she wants to come back from the Youth Olympic Games in China with a medal.
Sailing competitively for the first time in the Byte II category dinghy, Brant, 15, finished sixth in the World Championships in Riva del Garda at the end of April, and in doing so earned herself and Great Britain the female spot for the sailing event at the Games in Nanjing.
She had previously earned her spot at that event by finishing in the top two at the British qualifying series held at Datchet.
It is the only the second time the Games, an official part of the Olympic movement, will take place. In August, more than 3,600 youngsters will head to China to take part in all 28 sports that feature at Rio in 2016.
With no qualifiers for sailing in the first edition in 2010, Brant’s achievement is a first for any Briton in the dinghy events at the Youth Games.
Brant told the Advertiser how delighted she was to be representing her country and her preperations for China.
“I’m really happy, my main aim was just to go to the Worlds and see what happened there, with all the support from my coach and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) I was able to finish in the top six and qualify for the Youth Olympics - I’m really excited,” said Brant.
“I’d like to come back with a medal but I know it’s going to be tough and just being there will be great.
“I had no expectation when I went to Italy and did really well so I’ll just take it as it comes.
“I’m sailing four times a week instead of three and I’m going out to Italy for the Europeans in a couple of weeks which will be good for my preparation.
“I started sailing when I was nine, sailing with my dad at first which I definitely enjoyed. The first year I was on my own I hated it, then I went to a training camp and tried out a new boat and fell in love with it again.
“In my first boat I wasn’t doing so great, but then I moved into a different type of boat, a Laser Radial, and got a lot better. Though for Olympics I’ll be in a Byte. The first time I sailed in it was those was for the Worlds and that went well and I’ve been training in them more since.”
Mark Nicholls, RYA youth racing manager, commented: "Hanna should be congratulated for her achievement and we look forward to seeing how she performs in China.
"It's a big step up and she will need to work hard over the next few months to ensure she is properly prepared for such a major event."