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Gold Medal Girls set to inspire at their junior Yacht Club

by Jodie Bakewell-White on 17 Sep 2012
Olivia Powrie is all smiles as she, and Jo Aleh cross the finish line to win the Gold Medal in the Womens 470 class © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

New Zealand has over 120 Yacht Clubs, yet the country’s first women to win a gold medal in dinghy sailing, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, both started their sailing careers and first met at Kohimarama Yacht Club.

Set on the edge of the Waitemata, on Auckland’s Tamaki Drive ‘Kohi’ is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent junior and youth clubs proving a breeding ground for rising talent and this weekend the gold medal girls will be back at their old Club rubbing shoulders with the current crop of juniors and no doubt inspiring a few Olympic dreams.

Jo and Olivia will be guests of honour at the Kohimarama Yacht Club Open Day marked on the calendar for Sunday 23rd September.

Jo Aleh is excited about the opportunity: - 'I am really looking forward to going back to Kohimarama Yacht Club and meeting some of the young sailors coming through,' she says. 'I loved my time at Kohi when I was younger, and it is a great opportunity to be able to go back and to share our success with the club.

'I remember when I was young seeing the then current Olympic sailors, and just never thinking I could actually make it to where they were. Hopefully we can share how we made it to the Olympics and how anyone else, who is driven, can do it to.'

Team-mate Olivia ‘Polly’ Powrie echoes the same sentiment; 'It will be great to be back where it all began. Jo and I spent many hours battling it out with each other on the waters off Kohi. Looking up to the generation above us and wondering how they made it competing overseas.'

Kohimarama Yacht Club Commodore, Ross Simpson explains the significance of Jo and Olivia’s Olympic Gold medal and what it means to the yacht club: - 'All the past and present members of Kohimarama Yacht Club are extremely proud of the success of the girls as we all fully understand the years of dedicated commitment and effort that Jo and Olivia have made to reach this principal of achievement.'

'The girls and their parents have put in years of effort, time and cost towards this result. It is a very proud moment for all concerned and they deserve to be congratulated and recognised for this achievement,' he continues.

'Kohimarama Yacht Club is a fantastic training ground for young sailors who get to learn in great sailing waters from a beautiful beach with good consistent winds on the Waitemata. Twenty years ago in 1992, Craig Monk won a bronze medal for New Zealand at the Barcelona Olympics - Craig also sailed at Kohimarama Yacht Club.'

About Yachting New Zealand Learn to Sail:

Learn to Sail is a national programme developed by Yachting New Zealand covering the basic skills and is offered in both a Dinghy sailing option and a Keelboat sailing option. The programme is taught mainly at Yacht Clubs and is also offered by affiliated Commercial Sailing Schools.

See www.yachtingnz.org.nz for more information and use the on-line Club Directory to find out where your local Yacht Club is.

About Kohimarama Yacht Club:

Kohimarama Yacht Club is a youth yacht club dedicated to introducing young people to sailing, and training them to love and excel at the sport. The club has approximately 100 member families with about 120 boats sailing on a full club day.

Like many clubs, Kohimarama Yacht Club is a voluntary organisation run by generous people who willingly donate their time and effort.

For further information about Kohimarama Yacht Club please email info@kyc.org.nz or see www.kyc.org.nz

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