by Elena Giolai
The 31st Garda Optimist Meeting, set to take place 28th-31st March, will for the first time in the history of sailing see a young helmsman from the nation of Sri Lanka participate on Trentino Garda.
31st Optimist Garda regatta
Far off lands continue to grow and come to Lake Garda thanks to the sport of sailing and the latest is Sri Lanka which today confirmed its presence at the 31st Garda Optimist Meeting.
A helmsman from Sri Lanka has never been seen before in competition, at least in Europe, and the staff at Fraglia Vela Riva are especially pleased that the Garda Optimist Meeting, already in the Guinness World Record books as the World's largest single-class regatta, will be the event which will see the flag of this island nation in the Indian Ocean fly for the first time.
Twelve years old on the 20th April, Marc Wilson of Sri Lanka will be arriving at Riva del Garda accompanied by his father John: 'I want my son to take part in the Asian Optimist Championships which will be held in Japan in August so I decided that he should have some international experience and the Garda Optimist Meeting seemed like the best event both in competition and in life experience!' wrote Mr. Wilson in an exchange of emails with the secretary of Fraglia Vela Riva as he organised the trip to Riva del Garda down to the finest detail.
Marc Wilson of Sri Lanka - 31st Optimist Garda regatta
Up to now Sri Lanka has only been the organising country for the Asian Optimist Championships 2012 and has never had a helmsman participate in international events organised in Europe and the world (see World Optimist Championships).
'The Garda Optimist Meeting is a festival bringing together peoples from all over the world, giving a chance for youngsters to grow and not only in competition.
The news that a boy from Sri Lanka, a country which has never been represented in a regatta, means that the world comes to Trentino Garda through sailing and Upper Garda is an important centre in the world of sailing. When he returns to his homeland, Marc will take back a piece of our territory, our Lake Garda, and will be our young ambassador for regattas and our country' commented Mauro Stanga, President of Fraglia Vela Riva on hearing the news of the official participation of the young Sri Lankan.
Meanwhile pre-registrations are soaring with a total, as of today, of 1249 (beating the target of 1200) with 945 juniors and 304 cadets. At this rate Fraglia Vela Riva will outdo even itself this year!