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Seven SA sailors named for Youth World Championships

A team of seven sailors will represent Team South Africa at next month’s ISAF Youth World Championships in Limassol, Cyprus.

Alex Burger, Brent Hayward, Daniel Lawrence, Marcello Marcia, Ryan Robinson, Dominic van der Walt and David Wilson will fly the flag for SA under the guidance of coach Rob Holden from 11-20 July in the world’s leading youth sailing event which has been held every year since 1971.

ÔÇ£Making the Youth Worlds has been one of my ambitions. It was always a stepping stone which I had to reach. Now that I have actually made it to the top level of junior sailing I can really take my gloves off and give it a go,ÔÇØ said Robinson who hails from the unlikely sailing location of Carletonville in western Gauteng.

The 16-year-old is no stranger to international competition, having competed at two Mirror World Championships as crew, the Optimist British Nationals and two Dart World Championships.

He’s also due to compete at another Mirror World Championships with his sister this year, as well as participating in the famous Cape to Rio regatta in December.

ÔÇ£But this will be the biggest so far,ÔÇØ he admitted. ÔÇ£I hope to do the best that I possibly can and gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. A little bit of fun along the way won’t hurt either.ÔÇØ

As for which of the 61 competing nations is likely to present the stiffest competition, Robinson added: ÔÇ£Competition, psssh what competition? Just kidding, I’m not sure what faces us when we get there but I will be sure to do my best, with whatever comes my way. It’s really a great honour to represent one’s country, especially one as great as ours. I am privileged to do so.ÔÇØ

Robinson will be competing in the 420 Dinghy Boys class alongside teammate Dominic van der Walt in these Championships, which aim to develop youth sailing around the world. Many an eventual Olympic champion first emerged at this event with past winners including Britain’s four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt as well as New Zealand’s America’s Cup winning skipper Russell Coutts.

Robinson has similar ambitions in mind. ÔÇ£I hope to go as far as I possibly can, maybe a Youth Worlds medal, maybe an Olympic medal. I will carry on competing until I reach these goals or until the point that I no longer enjoy it because once the enjoyment is out of it there is no point,ÔÇØ he reckoned.

Racing in Cyprus begins on 15 July with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for the day before.

ÔÇ£We congratulate this team on their selection and wish them the best of luck at the event,ÔÇØ said South African Sailing chairman Mike Dixon. ÔÇ£The youth team obviously represent the future of sailing in this country and we are excited to see what they can do as they compete on the world stage.ÔÇØ

The full team is:

Laser Radial Boys: Marcello Marcia
420 Dinghy Boys: Ryan Robinson and Dominic van der Walt
29er Skiff Open: David Wilson and Alex Burger
SL16 Catamaran Open: Brent Hayward and Daniel Lawrence
Coach: Robert Holden


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