SAILING: Top prospect Maisie Harkness given early look at Tokyo's 2020 Olympic venue

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: National Development squad member Maisie Harkness of Bowmoor Sailing Club National Development squad member Maisie Harkness of Bowmoor Sailing Club

BOWMOOR Sailing Club member Maisie Harkness is one of just three youngsters who have been chosen to represent GB at the Japan Friendship Regatta which takes place at Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic sailing venue next month.

Maisie, 13, lives in Stroud but goes to Cirencester Deer Park School.

She has been sailing an Optimist Dinghy competitively for four years, learning the sport at Bowmoor in Lechlade.

Maisie is thought to have the potential to become a future Olympian having completed two years’ training in the South West zone squad and one year in the National Development Squad.

Both squads are subsidised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and through Sport England grants.

The opportunity to sail in Japan was extended to 13- and 14-year-olds by the International Optimist Class Association (IOCA). Maisie applied for a place and was delighted to be accepted.

She flies out to Japan on May 1 with one other Optimist sailor and one Laser sailor. They will race for two days on the same course that will be used for the 2020 Olympics.

The cost of her accommodation, food, race entry fees and boat charter will be met by the Japanese host yacht club but the air fares are self-funded and she is approaching local trusts for help.

As part of her preparations for the trip, Maisie is spending three days training at Fowey Galants Sailing Club in Cornwall.

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