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University College School Hampstead student sets sights on Olympic Games sailing place

PUBLISHED: 14:05 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 07 December 2016

Douglas Brierley from University College School Hampstead, has been selected for the Royal Yachting Association UK 420 Youth Squad. Credit: Szabo Leonard

Douglas Brierley from University College School Hampstead, has been selected for the Royal Yachting Association UK 420 Youth Squad. Credit: Szabo Leonard

Leonard Szabo

A teenage sailing star has the Olympic Games in his sights after being selected for the Royal Yachting Association UK 420 youth squad.

Living in America from the age of five, University College School, Hampstead student Douglas Brierley became involved in sailing through friends and took part in competitions in Long Island, New York and further afield in Connecticut and Rhode Island, with the C420 dinghy.

Moving back to England in 2012, he sought out sailing opportunities in London including sailing a one-man Topper boat in Canary Wharf and coming third in the London Youth Games in 2014.

Douglas is now considering whether to take a gap year to pursue his sailing career before university.

The 16-year-old said: “I like being dedicated to a sport – sailing is great. I love meeting new people on the circuit and travelling to sail in new places all around the world.”

Douglas’s next boat will be the 470, an Olympic class dinghy, which could lead to him competing in the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games.

He added: “Squad sessions with Paralympians who showed me what I could achieve and how exciting and rewarding professional sailing could be.

“I am now aiming for a top 20 slot at the World Championships next year in Australia.”

RYA youth racing manager Mark Nicholls said: “Douglas’s selection recognises his potential to progress within the British Sailing Team.

“Douglas has been selected on the basis of his performance and commitment to a programme of training and competition over a period of several years, and establishing his status as a UK squad sailor whom we hope will represent Great Britain at major international events.”

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