- Park posts her maiden Sunshine Tour victory
- White-hot racing as McGregor, Solms lead Drak
- Ellis urges Banyana players to show off their talents
- Mokoka makes Marathon Majors debut in Tokyo
- Park’s 68 puts her two shots clear at SA Masters
- Banyana get right into training regime in Reunion
- Future speedsters strut their stuff at Green Point
- Garcia tames wind to share the lead at SA Women’s Masters
- Skhosana starts his 2017 season in France
- Birkett spearheads big field for Drak Challenge
Marcia set for Olympic debut as he joins ‘old hands’ Jim and Hudson in Rio
- Updated: May 26, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Yachtsman Stefano Marcia is probably experiencing the equivalent of four seasons in a day after recent developments in his sailing career.
On the one hand, he wasn’t at all happy with his performance at last week’s Laser World Championships in Mexico.
But on the other hand, Wednesday’s announcement that he’s been confirmed by Olympic governing body SASCOC as a member of Team South Africa for the Rio Olympics later this year must make it feel like the wind is back in his sails once again.
Marcia was one of three sailors named in the preliminary 24-strong squad for Rio, the others being 2012 Olympic 470 sailors Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (pictured above) who will be on sailing duty between 8-18 August at Guanabara Bay.
‘I’m feeling overwhelmed with excitement of being included into the Olympic team,’ said Marcia. ‘My dreams are finally a reality and now it’s time to keep my head down and work towards finishing off this cycle of training and competing with a strong result and to make my family, friends and all my supporters proud when I get to Rio,’ added the Laser sailor from Benoni, and more recently Cape Town, who will be competing at the Olympics for the first time.
Marcia may have qualified but he’s all too aware of the work that needs to be done in the run-in to Rio.
In Mexico he missed out on the elite Gold Fleet race and ended up 28th of 56 craft in the Silver Fleet meaning he finished up in 84th position from a total of 112 boats.
He reflected on his regatta with Road to Rio 2016: ‘I’ve just got back from Mexico. I didn’t have the regatta I wanted and felt burnt out going to Worlds.
‘I finished deeper then I expected as I had planned on improving from my previous result at worlds but unfortunately I had a lot on my plate to deal with leading up to the regatta.
‘Honestly, I feel very disappointed with my result as I put in a lot of effort during the summer but it hasn’t really reflected in my results so far this season.
‘But I’ve learnt from what has happened and I’m taking this on the chin and using it to remind myself to train hard and not experience that kind of disappointment again. Next step from here is to take a week off from sailing and just get in the gym and start with physical preparation and starting next week I’ll be back on the water, turning it up and getting ready to prove myself on the big stage at the Games.’
Commenting on sailing’s trio of competitors on course for Rio, SA Sailing’s chairman Peter Hall said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled that three of our sailors will be representing the country in Rio this August. Sailing is a fast-growing sport in South Africa across many different communities with our extensive development programmes reaching areas that have usually not been exposed to the sport.
“We wish Asenathi, Roger and Stefano all the best as they represent these thousands of sailors – and the whole of South Africa in Rio and we look forward to seeing what they can achieve in their respective classes,’ added Hall.
Picture of Jim and Hudson courtesy of Trevor Wilkins