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Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan

Menzies and McGlashan finalists at Halberg Awards

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Seb Menzies and Blake McGlashan will get a taste tonight of living in the world of elite sport when they head to the Halberg Awards as finalists.

Around them will be Olympic and world champions, sporting royalty and a handful of celebrities.

But Menzies and McGlashan go to Spark Arena with some pretty impressive credentials of their own. The pair last year won the boy's 420 at the youth sailing world championships with a day toi spare, the pinnacle event for youth sailors, and also collected silver at the open 420 world championships.

It followed on from the 420 world title they won in 2018 when Menzies was only 13 and McGlashan 15. They are seen as two of the most promising young sailors in the country and it's now been recognised by the Halberg Awards judges.

They're finalists in the Emerging Talent category at the Halberg Awards alongside Alice Robinson (ski racing), Erika Fairweather (swimming) and Laurence Pithie (cycling) and follow in the footsteps of Josh Armit, who has moved from the Laser Radial to the full rig, who was a finalist in the same category last year.

"It was quite a successful year," McGlashan said. "We came close to achieving both of our goals, which were to win the 420 open world championships and the 420 at the youth sailing world championships. Because of that, it’s given us a good boost of confidence heading into a new class of boat."

The pair could have quite easily stayed in the 420 but opted to try something different and jump into a 29er. Their main goal is August's 29er world championships in Weymouth and then hope to win selection in the 29er to the NZL Sailing Foundation Youth Team for the youth sailing world championships in Brazil at the end of the year.

Before all that, however, they're going to tackle next month's 470 world championships in Palma, when they'll dip their toes into Olympic class sailing for the first time.

"It’s a really big learning curve to put ourselves in the same playing field as all of the Olympic teams," McGlashan said. "It gives us a real push and could be a real benefit to our sailing in the future."

Winning an Olympic medal is the ultimate goal but they know there's plenty to learn before they get to that level. They're getting a good taste of what that takes through training with Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox.

"It’s crazy seeing how much those guys put into the boat and how much training they have done. It’s really good for us to know where the benchmark is and where we need to get to," Menzies said. "We are learning so much off them."

They might also pick up a few pointers tonight.