by Matt Carter
Youth Olympic Games 2014 - Great Britain is set to be represented for the first time in the Youth Olympic Games dinghy events, with the British Youth Sailing Team’s Hanna Brant securing a qualifying berth in the Byte CII class for the Games to be held in Nanjing, China, this summer (16-28 August).
Hanna Brant competing at the Byte CII 2014 World Championship.
At the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, Britain was represented in just the windsurfing events, with Kieran Martin, the current ISAF Youth World Champion in the RS:X class, securing bronze for Team GB in the Techno 293.
This second edition of the Youth Olympic Games will encompass all 28 sports on the programme for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Over 3,600 young athletes aged between 15 and 16 are expected to compete at the event, with 100 sailors vying for the prestigious Youth Olympic titles.
Each country can qualify a maximum of four places in the sailing competition, to be held at Nanjing’s Jinniu Lake venue, and comprising events in the Byte CII one person dinghy for boys and girls, and the Techno 293 windsurfer for boys and girls. The British Olympic Association (BOA) delegated the RYA responsibility for qualifying GBR’s places and subsequently selecting sailors to represent Great Britain this summer.
The Byte CII qualifier event, the Byte CII 2014 World Championship, took place in Riva del Garda last week (22-27 April) and saw RYA Laser Radial UK Youth Squad sailor Hanna Brant finish Great Britain in sixth place, successfully qualifying GBR their female berth at the Games.
Young sailors aged 15-16 years from 24 different countries including African nations were involved in five days of intense competition, with Olympic qualification at stake.
Having spent a little under two weeks in the Byte CII dinghy, 15-year-old Brant from Oxford Sailing Club, sailed a consistent series posting 11 top ten finishes from the 13 race series to clinch qualification for Great Britain.
With places awarded to the top six finishing nations at the event, Great Britain join the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Portugal and France in qualifying their female place for the Games.
Great Britain missed out on qualification for the boys Byte CII event, while over in Torbole, Italy, Great Britain’s windsurfers also failed to qualify the nation at the Techno 293 Europe Continental Championships (19-26 April).
Mark Nicholls, RYA Youth Racing Manager, commented: 'Whilst it’s disappointing not to have qualified a full team 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.'
The British Olympic Association (BOA) is expected to formally unveil the Team GB athletes for the Youth Olympic Games in early July.
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