The RYA has strengthened its entry for this year’s Youth Sailing World Championships with the selection of six additional sailors to represent the British Youth Sailing Team in Sanya, China, later this year.
Laser Radial sailors Ben Whaley and Daisy Collingridge, and 29er crews Nick Robins-Billy Vennis Ozanne and Hattie Rogers-Emily Covell are the latest names to be added to Great Britain’s line up for the prestigious global event (11-15 December), after the RS:X and 420 representatives were selected earlier in the summer.
The team will be among a 400-strong international fleet from over 60 nations competing at the event.
Ben Whaley opened his season with a bang when he left his rivals in the dust to secure event honours at the RYA Youth National Championships back in April. The 18-year-old then went on to secure a bronze medal at the Radial Youth Europeans in Gdynia in August.
This will be a Youth Worlds debut for Whaley who is thrilled to finally get his call up.
“It feels amazing to finally be selected as part of the team after coming so close in the last two years, I just want to make it count now.
“The aspect I'm most looking forward to is the atmosphere of the event. It'll be very strange going from team-based events like the world champs where there are many competitors from each nation, to just one from each, very similar to the Olympics!”
The Swanage sailor will be starting a degree at University of Southampton later this month alongside training in Weymouth in the build up to the Youth Worlds
Completing the Laser Radial line-up will be under-19 Youth National Champion Daisy Collingridge. The 18-year old from Woodbridge battled with her teammates and rivals to lead the British charge at both the Laser Radial European and World Championships to earn her call up.
“It feels amazing be selected,” Collingridge explained. “It's been one of my aims of the season and now that I've got the spot I'm looking forward to the event. I've had to work really hard to be selected. There were a number of Radial girls in Youth Squad working really hard through the year and we all pushed each other in training to improve.”
It is a special and unique event, Collingridge smiles: “I also think the whole event will be an amazing experience, being part of a team who travel to such a fantastic venue with the opportunity to represent our country is really special.”
Despite only pairing up a year ago, Nick Robins and Billy Vennis-Ozanne had their sights set on Youth Worlds selection from the go. Missing out on the Youth Nationals title, the Hampshire duo felt the pressure approaching the 29er Europeans.
But their teamwork and determination paid off to score the coveted spot.
“Nick and I have been working very hard together for a year to get selected and it’s great for all that hard work to come through to get selected. The selection event at the European Championships was pressured, but as a team we worked well,” explained Vennis-Ozanne.
Meanwhile, Hattie Rogers and Emily Covell, having only recently paired up booked their berth following last month’s 29er Europeans. 18-year-old Covell joins the team as one of the most experienced hands, having finished fifth alongside Hannah Bristow at the 2016 edition.
Crew Covell is also a member of the British Sailing Team’s Podium Potential Pathway squad training in the 49er FX Olympic Class and is excited to have another shot at the event.
“I am so excited”, exclaimed Covell. “It was the best event I had ever done last year, and I am delighted to be going again with Hattie.”
Reflecting on last year, the West-Sussex sailor added: “The 2016 Youth Worlds had a very different feel to any other event I had done before. I am excited about being in that environment again and competing at a top level.”
The 17-year-old Rogers, for whom it will be a Youth Worlds debut, is thrilled to join the team having previously narrowly missed out on selection.
“I’m really proud to be joining the GBR Youth Worlds Team as it’s been a major goal of mine for the last two years. To finally qualify with Emily feels incredible!”
An elated Rogers added: “It’s my first Youth Worlds so the whole experience and format at that level will be fantastic, as well as visiting a country I have never been to before.”
After non-stop international events over the summer, the pair will take a short break before a busy autumn preparing to take on the world’s best youth sailors.
Just one spot remains for the British Youth Sailing Team line-up for the Nacra 15 multihull.
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