WATER SPORTS: WINDSURFING ace Michael Nickson is plain sailing towards his dream of making Britain's squad for the 2012 Olympic games in London.
The 13-year-old has maintained his place in the GB Zone Squad for the North West for the past two seasons, and won the Royal Yacht Association's youth and masters 5.5-mile open championship last year.
Now the Cranage youngster has made the step up to compete with the same sail and board that the seniors use - and is out to prove he can compete with the best.
His mum Josie said: 'It is different for him with the bigger sail and board, but he is adjusting well. He has met all the criteria set by the Zone Squad and has stayed in there for two years.
'His main ambition is to make the GB squad for the 2012 Olympics, which would be fantastic. But the main thing is he loves what he is doing and it has changed him as a person for the better.
'It has given him a direction and he has matured. He has a drive to do well and the sport is healthy. He is outside all the time and he has made friends all over the country. He is windsurfing most weekends throughout the season.'
Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School pupil Michael began by practising during the school holidays when he was only eight. He was plucked for the GB set-up while he was a member of the Astbury Sailsports club, near Congleton.
GB selectors keep tabs on the progress of windsurfers in the regional squads and pick the best to join the full GB team from them.
Michael, who also enjoys tennis, now uses a Bic Techno board and a size 6.5 sail and has taken time to adjust. Now he is gearing up for the Royal Yacht Association championships in Weymouth in September and the trials to stay in the Zone Squad in November.
Michael received a grant from John Merrick's Sailing Trust last year to help him follow his dreams, but he needs new sponsors to continue taking part in the expensive sport.
Anyone interested in supporting one of Cheshire's brightest young prospects is urged to call Josie on 07870 247565.