Olympics: British Sailing likely to select same team for rearranged Tokyo Games

British Sailing Tokyo 2020 squad
Britain's Tokyo 2020 squad are waiting to hear if they have to requalify for next year

British Sailing say their Olympics team will likely remain unchanged as they wait for news of a rearranged Tokyo Games in 2021.

A 15-strong team had already been selected for Tokyo before the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay.

“The emphasis for us now is supporting the NHS and the UK,” Olympic performance manager Mark Robinson said.

“We’ve shutdown completely and everyone is following the government guidelines.”

Sailing was one of just a handful of sports to have already finalised squads to represent Team GB in late July.

British Sailing have asked the British Olympics Association for guidance going forward and whether or not the team, based at Weymouth and Portland in Dorset, will potentially have to requalify for 2021.

“The BOA are obviously extremely busy at the moment,” Robinson told BBC South Today. “We had a team meeting before the shutdown where that selection question came up from a few people.

“Our biggest problem is going to be the fact there won’t be any more competitions until at least September for us to select from.

“We’re not like athletics for instance where a specific time qualifies you. We don’t select on that kind of criteria.

“It’s all to do with how teams and individuals suit certain boats and without any future events, it’s hard to make a fair judgement.”

Eilidh McIntyre
Eilidh McIntyre won a gold, along with Hannah Mills, at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo

Among those selected and training towards her first Olympics is Eilidh McIntyre, who was set to partner 2016 Olympic champion Hannah Mills in the 470 class.

“To have the news the games are postponed has been a bit of a relief,” the 25-year-old said. “We can start to plan and contemplate what that means.

“For the integrity of the games, it 100% wouldn’t have been fair for them to go ahead when athletes haven’t been able to train to the level they would like.”

McIntyre is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her father Mike, who won gold in the Star class at Seoul in 1988.

“He was the one who actually told me the news (of the Tokyo postponement) first,” she said.

“He’s very much of the same mindset as me. It gives me another 365 days to improve on the things I otherwise wouldn’t have had time to.”

For now, McIntyre is enjoying some unexpected time at home with her boyfriend, who returned from a seven-and-a-half month deployment with the Royal Navy on Friday.