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Hudson and Jim sail to 2016 Olympics berth

470 class world championship 2015 - day 5

Three years after their last-gasp qualification for the London Olympics, Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson have booked the South African 470 class sailing team a spot at next year’s Rio Olympics with a race and even an event to spare.
The duo claimed the fifth Olympic qualifying spot up for grabs at the 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel over the weekend and, once they have final selection approval from Olympic governing body SASCOC, can book their flights to Rio well in advance this time round.
With eight countries still in contention for the six qualifying spots going into the 10th of 11 races, the South Africans were under intense pressure. But their four years of experience sailing together clearly paid off.
‘The pressure was immense on all the teams that were trying to qualify and you could feel that in all the racing,’ said Capetonian Hudson afterwards. ‘The conditions here in Haifa are really shifty and really on and off pressure which made the racing extremely challenging. In the end it was an interesting game and there was a great contest.’
Jim, who hails from Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape and now resides in Red Hill township, added: ‘It’s been a tough week and the last four years after London have been really hard in terms of getting ourselves into the gold fleet and trying to perform with the top guys, so we’re really chuffed to actually have made it here.’
Hudson added that, their performance in Haifa would have further reaching effects than just for South Africa.
‘What this means with us qualifying here is that the African continental place remains open for the Rio 2016 Olympics, which means a second African country will qualify and go to the Games,’ he explained.
‘In January 2016 the 470 African Championships will be a great celebration of the 470’s success as a truly international class and growing enthusiasm in Africa. We sailed not just for South Africa, but for our continent today.
‘It was a great contest and a great event, really nice racing and obviously we’re absolutely chuffed to have taken the fifth Olympic place.’
Chairman of SA Sailing, Peter Hall was equally thrilled with Jim and Hudson’s performance, bringing to three the number of SA sailors to have qualified after Laser sailor Stefano Marcia also booked a spot for Rio earlier this year.
‘We are very happy to congratulate Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim for qualifying South Africa for the 470 Class at the 2016 Rio Olympics,’ he said. ‘This is a huge achievement and will be the second time that they have qualified the country following their attendance at the London 2012 Olympics.
‘Subject to approval from SASCOC, South Africa will have representation at the Laser and 470 at the Rio Olympics. All our support now turns to the 49er team of Graeme Willcox and Andrew Tarboton who have the final Olympic selection event at the 49er World Championships from 16 to 21 November.’


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