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Marcia in Mexico to make use of World Championships as preparations for Rio
- Updated: May 12, 2016
The build-up has been far from ideal but SA’s Olympic sailing hopeful Stefano Marcia is hoping to put all that behind him as he competes at the Laser World Championships in Mexico this week.
It’s been a gruelling road to get there, and Marcia knows this week’s event is a vital step in his preparation for the Olympic Games which are now just over three months away.
A total of 114 entrants from 44 countries have converged on Nuevo Vallarta in Mexico for the championships which run until next Wednesday.
‘World champs is crucially important to my lead-up to Rio. It gives me a very good benchmark to work off before the games and allows me to see the areas which I still need to improve on,’ explained Marcia.
‘Mexico looks like we could have a variety of conditions and there isn’t really any way to prepare for a venue like that except for just being well rounded in every condition possible and knowing that it’s not a familiar venue.
‘I was aiming for a top 35 finish at the worlds as I think it’s a very realistic goal and if everything works out well for me during that week of racing and I’m on the correct side of the wind shifts and pressure a top 20 won’t be too far out of reach.
‘I’m very focused on picking up my all round sailing ability and trying to be very versatile and adapting to the changes in conditions. It won’t help much if I only focus on just my light wind sailing as there could always be a freak change in the weather and we could have a very windy regatta. So I’m just looking at picking up my all round sailing skills and adapting quickly to change when it presents itself.’
Marcia has been training in Australia and New Zealand since last November. ‘Earlier this year I went to Auckland for two weeks where I trained for the first week then raced two regattas back to back where I finished second and eighth before flying back to Sydney for a 10-day training block right after Auckland in preparation for the European season.
‘I just recently completed a regatta in Palma Mallorca, Spain where I didn’t sail well the entire week and ended up 69th in a 154 boat fleet.’
But the Benoni and Cape Town based sailor still feels he’s come a long way since this time last year. ‘I’ve got a much better understanding of myself and what my weaknesses are which makes the learning process quick. The knowledge I’ve gained from the last year of racing and training has put me in a much easier state of mind when I’m in difficult or desperate situations and this is all part of my development of being a professional athlete.
‘My coach has had a very big role to play in my improvement and the rate in which I progress. He’s very honest with me and corrects my mistakes quickly so it never becomes a bad habit or a difficult fix later on. We both set very strict goals on days of training and racing and are looking to execute them every time.’
A good showing in Mexico will certainly take that growth even further – and be a timely boost ahead of Marcia’s first Olympics in Rio.