CIRENCESTER’S Rhos Hawes, an aspiring young Olympian, will be competing for gold and glory against the UK’s most talented young sailors at the upcoming 2014 RYA Youth National Championships.

More than 385 of the country’s finest youth dinghy racers and windsurfers will converge on the South Coast for five days of racing between Monday, April 14 and Friday, April 18 to do battle on the Olympic waters of Weymouth and Portland in what is regarded as the nation’s premier youth sail racing event.

The 17-year-old 420 sailor from South Cerney Sailing Club, who competes with team-mate Ben Hazledine from Hampshire, finished fourth at the 2012 event in Scotland, narrowly missing out on the podium.

Following a hard winter of training with the RYA 420 UK Youth Squad, the Marling School sixth form college student will be a hot contender for a medal at this year’s event.

Over the years the regatta has helped to identify and develop some of Britain’s most talented sailors, including multiple Olympic gold medallists Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Sarah Ayton.

As always the event doubles up as a selection event for the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which this year take place in Tavira, Portugal, in July.

Sarah Webb Gosling OBE, who progressed through the ranks to represent GB twice at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in the Laser Radial and went on to win two consecutive Olympic gold medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, will be among the panel of ISAF Youth Worlds selectors.

The sailors will also have the chance to showcase their talents in front of a Royal audience after confirmation that HRH The Princess Royal will be attending the event on Thursday, April 17.