Johannesburg - Eight South African youngsters are off to showcase their sailing skills in New Zealand next month.
The eight, Tammy Holden and Sanmarie Fourie (29er girls), Benji Daniel and Chad Stevenson (29er boys), Michaela Robinson (Laser girl), James Hellstrom (Laser boy), Douglas White and Jared Oosthuizen (multihull), have been selected to participate in the Youth Sailing World Championships in Auckland.
The team will take on some of the world’s best young sailors from December 14 to 20 as they aim to make their mark on the sport internationally.
In the team for the first time, 16-year-old Hellstrom sees this event as a stepping stone to one day representing South Africa at the Olympic Games.
“I am feeling really excited and honoured to be representing South Africa at the Youth World Sailing Championships. The nerves have not yet kicked in, but I think that will happen soon,” admitted the sailor from George.
Hellstrom claimed a gold and three bronze medals at the RS Tera World Championships and finished third in the Under-16 male category at the African Laser Championships.
Open to sailors who are 19 and younger, the Youth Sailing World Championships were first held in 1971 with just 16 nations taking part, and has since then grown to attract participants from 105 countries.
Past winners of the event have included sailors who have gone on to achieve greatness at senior level, such as America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts of New Zealand, and multiple Olympic medal winners Ben Ainslie of the UK and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt.