Teenagers selected for national sailing squad
Two students from Devon have furthered their dreams of Olympic success after being selected for the national junior sailing squad.
Thirteen-year-old Bella Fellows and 14-year-old Ella Methven both qualified for the national squads after exceptional performances at the qualifying events.
Bella, who began her sailing career at Yealm Yacht Club, said: "This means I'll get the chance to go away on national squad weekends, get tips from different coaches and improve my skills."
She recently placed 13th in the nationals and her desire to compete in the Olympics was fuelled when she met Ben Ainslie at the 'Round the Island' race earlier this year on the Isle of White.
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"He was so inspirational. He's an unbelievable sailor and just being around him made me want to be better at my sport."
Friend Ella has recently completed two years as a national junior squad member, making the move from sailing a 'topper' – a stable boat for junior sailors – to sailing a lighter, faster vessel, perfect for Olympic preparation, known as a '29er'.
She said: "It's a big step for me. I have been at the top for two years and I now feel as though I am starting again. I know it will be worth it."
The pair are supported by Ivybridge Community College's 'Talented and Gifted' scheme which is designed to assist aspiring young sports stars by supporting their extra-curricular activities whilst increasing assistance for their academic endeavours.
John Ryrie, co-ordinator of the scheme, described them as "exceptional students who demonstrate that it is possible to not only follow your sporting dreams but also succeed academically."