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GO MARA GO!: A WELL PREPARED MARA STRANSKY IS FINALLY OFF TO THE TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES After years of preparation and finally selection in the Australian Olympic team a year ago, island athlete Mara Stransky is about to fulfil her Olympic ambition. She is off to Japan in the coming days to represent Australia in the Laser Radial class at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, that became the 2021 Games thanks to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Still full of controversy, the Games are going ahead with some pretty stringent restrictions. A year ago Mara was named by the Australian Olympic Committee as Australia’s selection for the Laser Radial class at the now 2021 Olympic Games. The announcement came after some last-minute selection dramas, and capped a stunning rise for the 22-year-old sailor who grew up with her parents, Andrew and Carolyn on Russell Island, and who is a former student of the Russell Island State School. The Tokyo-bound athlete became the fourth youngest Australian Olympic sailor ever, in the knowledge that she would have an additional 12 months to continue to work on her skills and preparation. In fact, many Australian athletes have seen the postponement and the extra time as a ‘Godsend’; as recently exampled by many of the swimmers at the Australian Olympic trials. Mara believes she is now a ‘better sailor’ than she was 12 months ago when she was announced as as an ‘Olympian’. “I have had valuable time to work on some of the smaller details of close sailing in tight, competitive conditions. “I have been able to turn some of my weaker skills into major skill improvements. “I know I am relatively young, but I like to think on any day I can match it with anyone. “I would dearly love to win a medal at these Olympic Games. “You get few opportunities in life to do something that is so special. “And to me, this is very special, and what I have been working towards for so long,” Mara told The Friendly Bay Islander. Mara is very aware of where she comes from and her island background. “It was growing up around waters of the islands and living on board our family yacht for many years has entrenched sailing into my blood. “I really hope I do our islands proud in Tokyo. The sailing program starts on Sunday July 25, with Mara starting her fight for a medal on the very first day in the Laser Radials. Points are awarded to positions with the lowest points the most valuable i.e one point for first; two points for 2nd etc. The individual or crew with the lowest points is the winner. During races, boats navigate a Trapezoid course which is windward/leeward and over five days. They have two races a day and then the medal race for the top 10, which will be on Sunday, August 1.

• Mara in action!