Six teams have been confirmed for Team GBR, and the line up gives an indication of where the next wave of talent lies
After the long and detailed selection process that is normal for Olympic selection and following the test event in Rio, six British teams (eight people in total) have been confirmed for the 2016 Games.
While the announcement will have been a big relief for the sailors themselves, the individual decisions are not particularly surprising but the news does give an indication of a bigger underlying change in the Games.
Giles Scott, who takes the Finn place, has not only dominated the class since 2012 but gave Ben Ainslie a run for his money when both were qualifying for the London Games.
Similarly, Nick Tompson has stamped his mark all over the Laser class leaving little room for any other British competition, while Alison Young has done much the same in the Laser radial class.
In the women’s 470 class there was more competition but the experience and perfect pairing between Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark who took silver in 2012, won through this time. Yet in the men’s division of the 470, Luke Patience and Elliot Willis were the only British contenders.
For the RS:X sail board there was closer competition for Bryony Shaw from her training partner Izzy Hamilton who pushed the Gold medalist hard at times but eventually secured her place for Rio.
While congratulations go to those who have made the grade this time around, what will be particularly interesting to see is the next round of Olympic appointments in the British team. The remaining classes are some of the most hotly contested and say much about what the next generation want to sail.
Decisions are still due in the 49er class where picking the right team will be as difficult as it has always been with plenty of talent to choose from.
For the womens’ 49er FX, this will be the first time that this class appears at the Games and the all girl teams have been on a steep learning curve that many have been climbing very rapidly making it tricky to pick out who will peak at the right time in a year’s time.
And then there’s the new NACRA 17, a high performance cat that raises the speed bar in the Games even further. This is a mixed gender class and one that like the 49FX there has been plenty of enthusiasm for. Again, new partnerships in a brand new class means that this is one of the most interesting Olympic classes of all.
The next wave of announcements will be especially interesting and provide clues to the next wave of British Olympic talent.
The selected sailors, nominated by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), are:
Giles Scott: Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy)
Nick Thompson: Laser (Men’s One Person Dinghy)
Alison Young: Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy)
Luke Patience and Elliot Willis: 470 Men (Men’s Two Person Dinghy)
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark: 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy)
Bryony Shaw: RS:X Women (Women’s Windsurfer)