Carrickfergus Sailing Club’s Ryan Seaton is targeting medal glory at the Olympic Games in Brazil.
Four years on from London, the 28-year-old enters his second Olympics full of optimism that he and sailing partner Matt McGovern, from Ballyholme, can claim a spot on the podium in the 49er class.
Speaking exclusively to the Carrick Times, the former Downshire pupil said: “We are both really looking forward to Rio. We realistically have a chance of a medal but there are about eight teams who could all take the medals.
“It’s a close field, well, apart from the New Zealand guys who have been winning pretty much all the events from 2012.”
Related: Star sailor Ryan Seaton ready for Rio challenge
With funding cuts hitting the Team Ireland pair hard, the last year hasn’t been easy but it’s made them all more determined and focused on the big task ahead.
“Yes, we have worked harder than ever - especially the past 12 months.
“We have had struggles financially and that put stress on the campaign, although with great support from the Sport NI, Irish Sports Council, our clubs, family and friends we have managed to get over this hurdle, and now we are a stronger team.
“We know each other better now than we did at London 2012, we’ve learnt more about working as a team, and we are always aiming to improve our sailing. We treat every day like a school day.”
And on the much-publicised water pollution at Guanabara Bay and the conditions for sailing, he added: “The water pollution is still really bad, although if they can clear all the rubbish out of the water then it will be a great competition.
“The conditions are very tricky, as the topography of the Sugarloaf Mountain causes the wind to be difficult to read. Also they have some unpredictable tides that can make the racing interesting! We have spent a lot of time on the water in Rio and we for sure are starting to work it out. We are excited about the challenge.”