Anna Burnett joins the trio of Scots sailors heading to Toyko.
The recent Team GB Toyko 2020 announcement, adding John Gimson and Anna Burnett to the sailing team results in Anna becoming the third Scot, alongside Luke Patience and Charlotte Dobson, competing in sailing at the Olympic Games.
Anna Burnet, from Shandon on the Gare Loch has been sailing with John Gimson nfrom Congleton, Cheshire, in the mixed Nacra 17 class, and will be making their Olympic debut in Toyko.
The foiling Nacra 17 Class has seen a really close battle for selection, coming down to results from the 2019 World Championships in Auckland in December where the pair finished fourth overall. This added to the silvers they won at the Toyko test event and the European Championships.
The pair just finished equal third at the Nacra 17 Oceania Championhsips in Melbourne and the confidence of Olympic selection will no doubt have provide renewed energy.
Anna started sailing with John Gimson shortly after Rio and his experience across the Olympic Classes is vast. 15 years of campaigning Olympic classes in the UK alongside a host of professional sailing ventures to fund his dream.
John Gimson’s sailing career has seen him race everything from 470 dinghies to Tornado catamarans, as well as having experience with the Artemis Racing team in 34th and 35th Americas Cups. For the 2008 games he was tuning partner for the Yngling Class and in 2012 John moved to the Star class to tune against Iain Percy and and the late Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
John commented on the selection. “I’m elated and relieved – it’s been a big fight to get to this point. When [team manager] Mark Robinson called to tell me the news of our selection he made a grown man cry, because it’s been such a long journey for me. I’ve been campaigning to get to the Olympics since 2005 so to finally get the nod is incredibly emotional.”
“With this campaign now I’ve put everything that I’ve learned over the last 15 years together to build a solid campaign alongside Anna, who’s by far the best team mate I’ve ever had.
“It’s been a long journey but I’ve always had an inner belief that if I could put everything together and also get a bit of a break I could go to the Games. Ever since I was a kid I’ve dreamed of going to the Olympics and I wasn’t prepared to let that go until I felt I’d fully attacked it for a whole cycle. This is the first real opportunity I’ve had in the right boat, being the right size and sailing with the right person.
“It’s amazing to finally put an end to the trials process and focus our attentions fully on Tokyo 2020. We’re going to the Olympics to win a medal for sure.”
Anna Burnet, the niece of legendary New Zealand yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, added: “When Mark told us we’d been selected it took a while to sink in, and then half an hour later I burst into tears. It’s been such a long process to get to this stage that it still hasn’t fully sunk in.
“My parents are super happy, and I have so much to thank them for in getting this far. I’ve always dreamed of going to the Games but never assumed it would just happen. When I was younger I went to a talent camp that [double Olympic silver medallist sailor] Joe Glanfield was the sailing mentor for and we set out a realistic plan to aim for the 2020 Olympics. I think that plan has worked out ok!
“Now it seems like the Olympics is coming round fast and we’ve got so much to do, but I can’t wait to be part of it.”
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.
With Anna joining fellow scots Luke Patience and Charlotte Dobson in Team GB’s sailing team heading for Enoshima this summer, it makes a record for the number of Scots in the Olympic sailing team.
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