TOM Squires will go into battle against the world’s best in his biggest challenge in the countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Oxfordshire’s elite windsurfer is among 17 athletes flying the flag for Great Britain at the official Tokyo 2020 test event, which begins today.

The regatta, dubbed Ready Steady Tokyo and held on the waters of 2020 sailing venue Enoshima, is a dress rehearsal for the Games proper with nations selecting just one entry in each of the ten Olympic sailing classes.

Squires, from Kingston Bagpuize, was chosen as part of an ongoing selection process to ensure the nation’s best chances of winning medals at Tokyo.

The 26-year-old was the top Brit at a host of regattas, including 12th at the RS:X class European Championships.

“Representing Britain at the test event is an honour,” said Squires, who learned to race at Farmoor reservoir.

“It’s been a real challenge to get here – in fact it’s probably been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

“Preparing for the test event has been the final piece of the puzzle.

“I’ve been abroad training for most of the winter, and all my emphasis has been on this event.

“Racing here will give me an opportunity to perform in the Olympic venue, among a smaller fleet, and see how my training has gone.”

Selection for the test event, made by the RYA’s Olympic Selection Committee, is a key step in the RYA’s ongoing process to nominate athletes to go to Tokyo 2020 as part of Team GB.

But it does not guarantee that these athletes will be picked to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020.