Team GB announces first athletes selected for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
01 October 2019 / 09:00
Olympic champions Hannah Mills and Giles Scott are among 12 sailors named today by the British Olympic Association (BOA) as the first Team GB athletes selected for Tokyo 2020.
The Rio 2016 gold medallists are joined by a host of elite sailors representing eight of the 10 Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at Haven Holiday Park, Rockley Park in Poole.
A Tokyo 2020 medal for Mills would make her the most successful female Olympic sailor of all time. She will look to defend her crown in the 470 Women’s event alongside crew Eilidh McIntyre, who makes her Olympic debut 32 years after her dad Mike won gold for GB in the Star class.
Mills and McIntyre have rarely been off the podium since teaming up in 2017, with their success culminating in victory at the 2019 World Championships and silver at the Ready Steady Tokyo test event this summer.
Scott has also enjoyed a run of success in 2019, claiming his third Finn class European title and a bronze at Ready Steady Tokyo.
Returning for another tilt at Olympic glory are London 2012 silver medallists Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell.
Patience, sailing in his third Olympics, will compete in the 470 Men class alongside Rio 2016 crew Chris Grube, while Bithell will fly the flag for Britain in the 49er class with Rio Olympian Dylan Fletcher.
Olympian Charlotte Dobson returns in the 49erFX, joined by Saskia Tidey who represented Ireland at Rio 2016 before joining the British team in 2017.
Both representatives in the RS:X windsurfer class are newcomers to the Olympics: Tom Squires and Emma Wilson, who at 20 years old is the youngest athlete announced.
Squires takes up the mantle from veteran Olympian Nick Dempsey, the most successful Olympic windsurfer of all time with four Games and three medals to his name.
Wilson, the daughter of 1988 and 1992 Olympic windsurfer Penny Way, will look to win Britain’s first Olympic medal in women’s windsurfing since Bryony Shaw’s bronze at Beijing 2008.
Alison Young, the 2015 Laser Radial World Champion, earns her third Team GB call-up to round off the first wave of sailing selections for Tokyo 2020.
Britain has a rich history of excellence in Olympic competition, having won 58 medals – including 28 golds – since sailing made its debut at Paris 1900. Team GB currently tops the overall Olympic sailing medal table.
The selected sailors are:
Giles Scott: Finn (Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy)
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre: 470 Women (Women’s Two Person Dinghy)
Luke Patience and Chris Grube: 470 Men (Men’s Two Person Dinghy)
Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey: 49erFX (Women’s Skiff)
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell: 49er (Men’s Skiff)
Alison Young: Laser Radial (Women’s One Person Dinghy)
Emma Wilson: RS:X Women (Women’s Windsurfer)
Tom Squires: RS:X Men (Men’s Windsurfer)
Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, said: “We are delighted to announce the first 12 athletes who have been selected to Team GB for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“Sailing made its debut at the Paris 1900 Games and British athletes have excelled on the Olympic stage ever since. The sailors we have announced today have a wealth of experience, including reigning Olympic Champions Hannah Mills and Giles Scott and I look forward to seeing what they can do in Enoshima next summer.”
Mark Robinson, Team GB Sailing Team Leader and RYA Olympic Performance Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to be announcing the first sailing members of Team GB today. These athletes have all proven themselves in their class and every single one of them is capable of returning from Tokyo 2020 with a medal in their hands. There is great experience within the sailing team, from our Rio 2016 gold medallists back to defend their crowns to experienced Olympians who know what it will take to taste victory in Tokyo.
“We are also delighted to welcome new talent who have immense potential towards achieving Team GB’s objectives in this cycle and beyond. Selection at this point of the cycle will allow these athletes to have maximum preparation time in the run-up to Tokyo 2020, putting Team GB in the best possible position to rule the waves.”
Giles Scott, 32, from Huntingdon, Cambs, now living Portsmouth, Hants said: “Selection for Team GB is a massive deal. It’s what we all strive towards as athletes. To be one of the first team members to be named is cool – it’s the start of getting the nation excited about the Games. What I noticed last time around was when you turn up ready to go to the Games, you don’t really know each other and other athletes from the other sports but you are part of this big thing and all aiming towards the same goal of getting medals. It’s a really special thing.
“It’s certainly been different for me this cycle as there was an added expectation that I would qualify as I’m the reigning Olympic champion. The hard thing is trying not to get caught up in that hype and realise things aren’t that different. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, you have to prove now you are the best person to go and do it.”
Hannah Mills, 31, from Cardiff, Wales, now living Poole, Dorset: “Selection is amazing and it’s a big part of the Olympic journey. Whether it’s been a tight decision or not it’s always a big step and to get selected with Eilidh who hasn’t been to an Olympic Games before makes it a really exciting part of the journey.
“Everything this year has been about qualifying and getting that spot for the Olympic Games. Being in Japan this summer was partly about that but also partly about how we can perform in the venue at the right time of year. We learned so much this summer and did enough to get selected but it also gave us a lot of areas of focus for this winter and going in to the Games next year.
“Saskia [Clark, Mills’ London 2012 and Rio 2016 crew] and I had an amazing time together we achieved so much and had an incredible time doing it. But equally I have loved every minute sailing with Eilidh and it has been a different kind of challenge. We bounce off each other in a different way and I have learned so much more about myself – my strengths and weaknesses, Eilidh’s also. It’s just such a special thing to campaign for a gold medal with someone as you create such a bond with that person.”