Olivia Robson, a young windsurfer
Simpson Watersports Centre, Portsmouth, has been handed a huge boost in
her ambitions to become a top windsurfers thanks to a national programme
helping young talent progress in the sport.
Olivia has been awarded exclusive
use of her own Bic Techno windsurfing board for the next two years through the
on-going partnership between the John
Merricks Sailing Trust and RYA OnBoard,
Launched in 2013, the partnership
supports youngsters who display enthusiasm, drive, talent and commitment to the
sport and who may not ordinarily have the opportunity or financial backing to
achieve their goals. In its six years, 76 boats and boards have now been
donated with some remarkable success stories.
Olivia’s mother, Carey Robson, admits she
had tears in her eyes after opening the email telling her about Olivia's new
Bic Techno board. And as happy as the young windsurfer is to be able to use the
kit for herself for the next two years, she knows passing the board and sail on
to AWSC, Portsmouth will also help other windsurfers develop in the sport
Olivia said: "This will help me to
achieve my goal of getting into National Squad then going on to compete in the
Olympics. I feel so privileged to have received such an amazing award. I feel that this will boost my confidence. Thank you
The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations
to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of 1996 Olympic silver
medallist, John Merricks. As OnBoard's official charity partner, JMST will
donate at least 80 single-handed junior pathway boats and boards to promising
sailors over eight years, giving them the chance to progress their skills and
continue to participate in the sport.
Hannah Cockle, RYA OnBoard Operations
Officer, added: "We cannot thank JMST enough for continuing to support
the programme. For many of the winners it will be the difference between
continuing in the sport and not. It is such a thrill telling the sailors and
their families they have been successful because we know what a difference
getting a boat or board will make to their lives.
"OnBoard is all about making it
easier and cheaper to get more young people aged 8-18 on the water regularly
and that is what the JMST partnership helps to achieve.”
This year's recipients
all applied for and were awarded their new boats or boards after attending
their respective British Youth Sailing Regional Junior Championships at the end of September.
Eligibility for next year's applications will open in July 2020.
2005, OnBoard has helped over three quarters of a million young people try
sailing and windsurfing and learn an activity that often stays with them for
life. The programme enables youngsters to enjoy all the excitement and
relaxation being on the water offers, whilst nurturing a wide range of broader
learning benefits and invaluable life skills, from problem solving to
leadership and teamwork.
For more information about how to
get involved in sailing visit the OnBoard web page.