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Meet Our Midlands Olympians!

dylan flectcherHow can you get behind them and make the most of Rio 2016

The action might be happening over 5,700 miles away but there will be plenty of Midlands home interest when the Rio 2016 Olympic sailing regatta gets underway on Monday 8 August.

Four of Britain's 15-strong Olympic team were either raised in or have strong links to the region so let's meet them... 


Market Harborough-raised Dylan, with partner Alain Sign, was one of the final selection picks for TeamGB, after a nail-biting selection battle for the 49er class berth.

Born in London, Dylan moved to the Midlands when he was 11 and, as an up-and-coming junior, was named the Harborough Sports Personality of the Year in 2006. His formative years were spent honing his skills on Pitsford Water at Northampton Sailing Club. His family home is now in Desborough, Northants.

Now 28, Dylan and Alain won 49er World Championship bronze in Florida in February, their first Worlds podium finish, to go with three European Championship medals as their bronze from the 2014 Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta - the first Rio 2016 Test Event.

When to watch:

49er class racing starts on Friday 12 August, with a scheduled 12 races plus the medal race scheduled for Thursday 18 August.


Bewdley's Ali Young is heading to her second Games in the women's one person Laser Radial.

Whereas Ali went into her Olympic debut at London 2012 as a bit of a latecomer dark horse, the 29-year-old heads to Rio firmly amongst the favourites for gold after clinching her first World title in April and becoming the first British woman to become world champion in a solo Olympic dinghy class. 

Born in Wolverhampton, Ali first sailed a GP14 with her dad at Trimpley Reservoir when she was nine. As a junior she sailed Oppies then Toppers and, in 2000, aged 13, she also sailed with the Worcestershire School Sailing and Canoe Association (WSSCA) in 2000 and was an active member for five years. Read that full story here - Ali Gets Selected for Rio! 

When to watch:

Laser Radial racing starts on Monday 8 August, with a scheduled 10 races plus the medal race scheduled for Monday 15 August. 


Giles goes to Rio as not only one of the stars of the British sailing team but also TeamGB. Having just wrapped up his fourth Finn Gold Cup World title by the age of 28, comparisons with Sir Ben Ainslie, the man whom he succeeds in the Olympic Finn seat, are easy.

However, while Giles is most typically associated with Grafham Water SC, just over the Northamptonshire border into Cambridgeshire, the three young Scott brothers honed their fledgling racing talents at Hollowell SC.

The club even got a namecheck in his journey in this recent Daily Telegraph article - Finn Class favourite Giles Scott determined to finally seize his chance at Rio 2016

When to watch

Finn racing starts on Tuesday 9 August, with a scheduled 10 races plus the medal race scheduled for Tuesday 16 August. 


Another Grafham sailor with strong Northamptonshire links, Ben Saxton makes his Olympic debut in Rio in the new Nacra 17 catamaran class.

Ben is the great grandson of Middle Nene SC founder member, Reg Loakes, and the grandson of former MNSC Commodore Michael Perkins.

He competes with Nicola Groves in the mixed class, and the pair head to the Olympics as the reigning European champions.

When to watch

Nacra 17 racing starts on Wednesday 10 August, with a scheduled 12 races plus the medal race scheduled for Tuesday 16 August. 

And it's not just the Olympics...

Did you know that Chris Brittle, grinder in the Artemis Racing Team competing in the America's Cup World Series hails from Rearsby, near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire?

Chris will be part of Iain Percy's crew when the ACWS once again comes to Portsmouth from  21-24 July. Event details here - America's Cup World Series Portsmouth

*Do you know of any major Midlands links to this summer's Olympians and Paralympians that we might have missed? If so please let us know on our Facebook page at 

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