The duo managed to meet the qualifying standards at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Melbourne, Australia in December last year to book their tickets to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Olympics.
“Our records show that you have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition in the event listed below. A further list will be sent out following the 2016 Olympic qualification events,” ISAF said in a letter to Sailing Cook Islands.
The national sailing governing body is yet to make a statement on their qualification but has congratulated the sailors on their achievement.
Henry said confirmation from the international body had set things rolling as he looks forward to stepping up his preparation for the Rio Olympics.
“The green light from the international body will certainly push us to another level in terms of preparation as we look forward to competing at the Olympics,” he said.
Henry and McKenzie will compete in a series of competitions in the build-up to the Rio Olympics, to be held from August 5 to 21. McKenzie, who is based in New Zealand, will take part in the New Zealand Laser contest this month while Henry will compete at the Sail Auckland event in February.
“After that, we wouldn’t have any competition until April or May when we will compete at the World Championships in Mexico..”
Both McKenzie and Henry were part of the World Sailing’s Emerging Programme which proved to be an important component in their developments.
The duo grew from sailing Optimists in their early teens through to the laser class.
The 20-year-old McKenzie, who has been sailing since 12, has been competing internationally since 2009.
Henry, 25, who started sailing in a wooden Optimist when he was nine, gradually moved on to plastic Optimist before upgrading to a Laser.
He began travelling overseas for international competition in 2007 and has since participated in eight of the Emerging Nations camp.
McKenzie and Henry have spent four weeks working with Australian coach Laura Baldwin at her training facility in Sydney before their qualifying event in December.