The athletes, who have been training for over four years, as part of their Olympic campaigns, will take to the waters on 11 April to battle it out at the nine-day qualifying competition in Genoa.
In the running is two-time Olympian and World Cup silver medallist Ryan Seaton, from Carrickfergus. Seaton paired up with new crew Seafra Guilfoyle from Cork in the 49er class, following his 10th place finish with Matt McGovern at Rio in 2016.
McGovern is now coach to the Irish 49er teams, all vying for an Olympic place.
Ryan and Seafra finished 10th at the Olympic Test event in Enoshima and recently finished 30th at the 2020 World Championships. They are embarking on a critical training phase in the lead up to the Olympic qualifier and subsequent European Championships in May.
Seaton comments: “Seafra and I have been training well and putting critical elements of speed and boat handling together over this winter period. Our focus has been to get more race practice and working under pressure to refine our performances and add consistency to a regatta week.”
Campaigning in the men’s heavyweight Finn class since 2015, McClelland has secured several top 32 World and European finishes. In January he finished fourth in the Miami World Cup Series event, just narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.
He says: “Really nailing down all elements that make up a successful Olympic campaign was definitely difficult at the start but over time I have been able to get consistent and make big improvements.”
Ballyholme’s Liam Glynn is also gearing up for the challenge in Genoa. Rising through the youth and U21 ranks, he has secured a world junior title and U21 bronze along the way and recently achieved a personal best finish in the Laser at the recent World Championships in Australia.
As part of the Irish Performance Laser squad, the Bangor sailor has been training hard, with a typical day including up to six hours of training, looking at racing skills and focusing on nutrition and recovery.
Commenting on his Olympic campaign so far, Glynn says: “I am motivated by my love of the sport, the feeling when you are in the zone and perfecting your technique and strategy amongst the best sailors in the world.”
All three sailors graduated through the RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Pathway and are funded through Sport Northern Ireland. Seaton and Glynn are members of the Irish Performance Team.
In sailing, nations can qualify in 10 Olympic disciplines but just one boat is eventually selected to represent each nation in each discipline.
For the NI athletes, their last chance for a European place in the Finn, Laser and 49er fleets is up for grabs at the Sailing World Cup next month.
RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford, is looking forward to supporting the sailors as they make their final preparations.
“For all three boats the focus is now on one event in April and for the final chance to secure their place at Tokyo 2020,” he says. “All three have worked extremely hard during this Olympic cycle, with vast amounts of training, competing and travel to achieve their goal.
“At RYA Northern Ireland we are proud of how well they have applied themselves and their inspirational role as ambassadors for sailing in Northern Ireland.
“We look forward to the sailing community supporting them as they undertake this final challenge for Olympic qualification.”