TOM Squires hopes he is on the verge of something special after starting the biggest year of his windsurfing career in style.

The 26-year-old cruised to victory in the Men’s RS:X class at Sail Melbourne yesterday as he kicked off a season that will culminate at the Olympic Games in July.

It gives Squires, from Kingston Bagpuize, crucial momentum as he prepares to face the planet’s best at the RS:X World Championships in Sorrento, Australia, next month.

And with several more tests to come before the Games in Tokyo, the windsurfer was delighted to begin 2020 on a positive note.

He said: “It’s been a long time since I’ve won anything international but hopefully this is the beginning of something good leading towards Tokyo 2020.

“There were a few top guys missing from the fleet at this regatta, and the worlds will be a real test.

“It’s a good confidence boost to win this event though and I’m now looking forward to racing the big boys next month.”

Squires added: “Sail Melbourne has always been a prestigious event and to win it in the Olympic year is a great start to 2020.”

The Oxford-born competitor led from early in the regatta as he dominated in breezy conditions that suited his style.

Squires stayed on top even when the wind slowed on the final day and he was pleased to come through unscathed.

He said: “It’s been super fun racing here with 18 other great windsurfers. For me the strong wind is what I love and to have three days of 10-20 knots was spot on.

“The real challenge for me was the last day – although I had a little lead I knew that in the lighter breeze I could have a few bad races and really suffer in the results.”

It was the latest in a series of strong performances that saw Squires selected as Team GB’s only men’s windsurfer for Tokyo.

He will aim to follow in the footsteps of British Olympic legend Nick Dempsey, who claimed three medals across four Games, including silver at Rio 2016.

The World Championships will give Squires a better idea of his prospects in Tokyo, before he targets the renowned Princesa Sofia Trophy in Mallorca – a competition he has previously won – in March.

He said: “I’m really pushing everything I can. In the year of the Olympics it’s important to hit form at the worlds.

“You can scout your competition and see what areas you need to work on.

“This year is all about performing non-stop until the Games.”