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Sailors on course at AAG
- Updated: September 6, 2011
By Mark Etheridge
Our sailors are expected to bring home a whole flotilla of medals from their base at the Clube Maritimo Desporto here at the All Africa Games that are currently underway .
Sailing is now into its third day and already South Africa lead all the four classes barring the men’s Laser Radial… and they are by no means out of it either, lying third and fourth as of Tuesday.
Sailing manager/coach Belinda Hayward expects at least six but possibly 10 medals when the competition comes to an end on Sunday.
“Most of the team here stand an excellent chance of medalling,” said the Hartebeespoort based Hayward, who currently works for SA Sailing’s High Performance unit.
“We’ve got sailors in all the classes being contested, from Optimists to Laser Radials, Lasers and the 420’s.”
The Optimists are basically an entry level boat while the 420’s are the boats used for Youth World Championships and are the entry for the 470s’. The Radial is the entry level for the Olympic specification boats.
At this stage Port Elizabeth twins Eben and Johan Vivier, 15, look certain gold medallist in the 420 class while Jessica Deary and Bridget Clayton in the Radials should also end 1-2, barring distaster.
The squad is wide-ranging in age from David Wilson, 13 of Cape Town in the Optimist to 45-year-old Craig Richards of Cape Town, in a Laser.
Fifteen-year-old Ruben Heard from Richard’s Bay in KwaZulu-Natal won the youth nationals this year and those in the know say that not too many sailors train harder than him.
But this will be his last year in the Optimist class before he moves up to the next level ÔÇô “I’m getting too fat for this class,” said the 15-year-old Richard’s Bay High School pupil, all 55kg of him!
He’s sailed four races in this competition so far. “I’ve ended fourth, third and then second twice. I was leading the last two but then lost out because of the wind shifts in the later stages,” he said. Heard has been sailing for four years now after being introduced to the sport by his father.
Sailing and yoga are not something that you’d normally associate with each other but, says Hayward. “I first introduced it to help with mental training and now quite a few of the guys are into it and even asked me soon after we got here, to start a morning session.”