TWO elite sailor from Wales will go into battle against the world’s best this week in the biggest challenge in the countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Hannah Mills and Chris Grube will be among 17 athletes flying the flag for Great Britain at the official Tokyo 2020 test event, which begins on Saturday, August 17.

The regatta, dubbed Ready Steady Tokyo and held on the waters of Tokyo 2020 sailing venue Enoshima, is a dress rehearsal for the Games proper with nations selecting just one entry in each of the 10 Olympic sailing classes.

Crucially, Ready Steady Tokyo is a key performance indicator in the run-up to Tokyo 2020, where Britain will aim to top the sailing medal table for the fifth time in six Games.

Mills, 31, and Grube, 34, were chosen as part of an ongoing selection process to ensure the nation’s best chances of winning medals at Tokyo 2020.

Rio 2016 gold medallist Mills will once again represent Britain in the Women’s 470 just a week after securing 470 world championship gold with crew Eilidh McIntyre in Enoshima.

Mills is aiming to secure selection to the doublehanded class to keep her dream of becoming the most successful British Olympic female sailor alive.

“The test event is massively important,” said Mills, from Cardiff. “Generally there is a strong correlation between medallists at the test event and medallists at the Olympics.

"It’s a good indicator as to where you are, where the fleet is at, but ultimately it is about what you can take away, build on over the winter and bring back next year. Win or lose there’s lots of lessons to be had.

“We are feeling excited to get racing again. We have had quite a lot of time off to recover after the Worlds. It’ll be good to race in a small fleet again as that’s what you get during the Olympics. It’s definitely a good opportunity to build up hours in the venue, something which is important.”

Bala’s Chris Grube continues his Rio 2016 partnership with London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and goes in to the test event fresh from finishing seventh at the 470 class world championships.

“I’m feeling very positive about the test event," he said.

"It’s been a busy period as we’ve just finished the worlds but we have worked on some things and managed to take a bit of time off as well. We going quick and we’ve got our racing heads on.

“The test event is so important. It’s an opportunity to race in the Olympic venue at the right time of year so we will be doing everything we can to win this event and try to stamp our authority on the fleet.”

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.

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

“All of the chosen athletes have demonstrated medal-winning potential so far this year,” said Mark Robinson, Olympic performance manager at the RYA.

“We are blessed with strength and depth in many classes as the results in the recent class European Championships have proven. I’m delighted with the progress of the team and am looking forward to watching them perform in the Olympic waters off Enoshima.”