Somerset sailing star Bettine Harris insists she will not buckle under pressure as she sets her sights on a dream Olympic debut. 

After marginally missing the cut in last year’s test event, Axbridge’s Harris, 21, and partner Martin Wrigley, 27, will have a shot at redemption when they set sail at the 470 World Championships next week. 

The British duo will have to outperform the other non-qualified European nations in Palma de Mallorca in order to secure the all-important Olympic quota spot but Harris is hopeful of punching a ticket to Paris.

“It would be awesome to be selected for the Olympics, it’s something I’ve been dreaming about,” she said.

“We’ll carry on for 2028 [either way], but it would be very cool to go this year.

“There’s a fair bit of pressure but I think we have a really good shot.

“We didn’t quite manage to qualify at our first opportunity last year so hopefully it goes a bit better this time. 

“Since then, we’ve come back stronger. We have been pretty sensible and we have done our own thing instead of following everybody else.”

Harris and Wrigley can qualify the nation next week by surpassing other European countries, notably Italy, who pose the biggest threat.

The pair would then be subject to a selection process if they are to join the 10 sailors who became the first athletes named in Team GB’s squad for Paris last October.

“When I was younger, I wanted to go to the Olympics through athletics but then I realised I probably wasn’t very quick," added Harris.

"I think I’ve got more of a shot in sailing.

“Our aim is to try and qualify the nation for the Games as there is one European spot available.

“It could be pretty tight but I think we have a really good shot. We’re looking pretty good ahead of next week.

“We’ve just come back from 10 days in Palma, we’ve had quite a bit of wind out there so it’s been good to get some extreme conditions in.

“In fact, we had a couple of really windy days and a couple of light days, so it’s been helpful to get a mix of everything.

“The next steps are all very dependent on whether we qualify the nation or not. If not, we will have to try and do it at Hyères [at the last chance regatta].”

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