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SA sailors chase down Youth Olympic Games berths

There’ll be plenty at stake when a team of young South African sailors set off for the Byte C2 World Championships at Lake Garda in Italy from 22-27 April.

SA Sailing (SAS) have announced the team of four that will compete in the event in Italy ÔÇô with the incentive of booking one of just two places up for grabs at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China this August.

Part of that team is 14-year-old Capetonian Calvin Gibbs, right, who first took up sailing when he spotted a poster on his junior school notice board.

ÔÇ£From there I was interested and started a course at Imperial Yacht Club, and after that I was hooked,ÔÇØ explained the Wynberg Boys High student. In fact three of the four SA sailors competing in Italy in April are from the Wynberg campus.

ÔÇ£It feels great, I feel privileged to be one of the four to make the team. I am hoping to do well and have a great time in Italy,ÔÇØ added the talented youngster who has represented South Africa twice at the African Optimist Championships and at one World Optimist Championship.

The highlight for Gibbs came last year, when he claimed the African Optimist title on home waters ÔÇô in Langebaan. But he has bigger dreams in mind. ÔÇ£It would mean a lot being one of the first South Africans to make it to the Youth Olympics Games,ÔÇØ he said. ÔÇ£I would like to end up sailing a skiff dinghy and going to the [senior] Olympics.ÔÇØ

Joining Gibbs in the team for Italy are Dylan Long, Sonia Stock and Megan Robertson, who will need to qualify a boat for the Youth Olympic Games before the SA Sailing Selection Committee decide which one boy and one girl will compete in China in August.

Meanwhile, SAS announced that Ryan Robinson and Dominic van der Walt (420 Boys), Emma Clark (Laser Radial Girls) and Marcello Marcia (Laser Radial Boys) have been selected to compete at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Portugal in July. More team members, in the Catamaran and 29er classes, will be announced after the Hobie 16 Nationals from 20-23 March in PE and the 29er Nationals from 18-21 April in Simons Town.


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