Wind is at young SA sailors’ backs

CityPress - - Sport - CITY PRESS COR­RE­SPON­DENT sports@city­

Eight South African young­sters are off to show­case their sail­ing skills in New Zealand next month.

The eight, Tammy Holden and San­marie Fourie (29er girls), Benji Daniel and Chad Steven­son (29er boys), Michaela Robin­son (Laser girl), James Hell­strom (Laser boy), Dou­glas White and Jared Oosthuizen (mul­ti­hull), have been se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in the Youth Sail­ing World Cham­pi­onships in Auck­land.

The team will take on some of the world’s best young sailors from De­cem­ber 14 to 20 as they aim to make their mark on the sport in­ter­na­tion­ally.

In the team for the first time, 16year-old Hell­strom sees this event as a step­ping stone to one day rep­re­sent­ing South Africa at the Olympic Games.

“I am feel­ing re­ally ex­cited and hon­oured to be rep­re­sent­ing South Africa at the Youth World Sail­ing Cham­pi­onships. The nerves have not yet kicked in, but I think that will hap­pen soon,” ad­mit­ted the sailor from Ge­orge.

Hell­strom claimed a gold and three bronze medals at the RS Tera World Cham­pi­onships and fin­ished third in the Un­der-16 male cat­e­gory at the African Laser Cham­pi­onships.

Open to sailors who are 19 and younger, the Youth Sail­ing World Cham­pi­onships were first held in 1971 with just 16 na­tions tak­ing part, and has since then grown to at­tract par­tic­i­pants from 105 coun­tries.

Past win­ners of the event have in­cluded sailors who have gone on to achieve great­ness at se­nior level, such as Amer­ica’s Cup win­ner Rus­sell Coutts of New Zealand, and mul­ti­ple Olympic medal win­ners Ben Ainslie of the UK and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt.

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