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Olympic hopefuls hope to make their mark in Majorca

Some of South Africa’s Olympic sailing hopefuls will compete at the first ISAF World Cup event of the European season in Majorca next week.

Graeme Willcox and Andrew Tarboton (49er) and Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim (470) will be among the more than 1000 sailors from 53 countries competing at the Mediterranean island from 29 March to 5 April.

The regatta signals the start of the European circuit for sailors who are campaigning for the Rio 2016 Olympic sailing competition, and is the fourth of five regattas included in the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup.

Willcox and Tarboton, pictured right, who only teamed up at the end of 2012, have their sights set on competing at their first Olympic Games in 2016, while Hudson and Jim are looking to take on their second.

ÔÇ£We have spent the winter in the UK working on our weaker points which we highlighted from last season,ÔÇØ explained Willlcox. ÔÇ£We have done quite a lot of heavy wind sailing, as this last winter in the UK has been quite a stormy season.

ÔÇ£This has meant we did not get as much time on the water has we had hoped, but this has been substituted with some good gym work so we are in good shape.ÔÇØ

The duo competed in a regatta in Weymouth a few weeks ago ÔÇô their first racing opportunity against other 49ers after the winter training. ÔÇ£We showed good speed, and had some great results against some top teams. We also found a few more areas to work on, and will keep chipping away at improving ourselves and our team work in the run up to the ISAF World Championships in Santander, and towards Rio,ÔÇØ he added.

Speaking about the importance of a good showing at next week’s event, Willcox explained: ÔÇ£This World Cup event is our first one together as a team, so it is an important milestone.

ÔÇ£We have had a plan from the beginning where 2012-2013 would be where we learnt to sail the boat together, and make sure we can handle the boat in all conditions, and then 2014 was to step it up to the next level and start racing more against the top teams.

ÔÇ£Then 2015 would be a fully blown season sailing the European circuit. As hopefully by then we have raised enough money to sustain this.ÔÇØ

The Palma World Cup will kick off with a practice race on Sunday before official racing begins on Monday.


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