Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Teddy Ndaro wants to be first native Kenyan to sail in the Olympics

by Robert Deaves on 17 May 2014
Teddy Ndaro ISAF media
Like many a sailor around the world, Teddy Ndaro (KEN) has a dream - to represent his country in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He is not unique in that, but in doing so he would become the first-ever native Kenyan to sail in the Olympic Games. He knows it is going to be an uphill struggle, not only to be competition ready, but also to manage the logistical and financial burdens that come with such a challenge.

Strangely, sailing is not a large participation sport in Kenya, despite the excellent sailing conditions along its coasts and on its many lakes. Teddy explains, 'It is a very difficult to participate in sailing in Kenya because there is not much support for the sport or its participants. So far, all my sailing has been self-funded.

'The sport of sailing is also suffering here because participation numbers go down every year. Since it is mainly a white dominated sport, many of them of the older generation, it means the numbers are low and reducing. A few natives like myself are trying it out but there are still not many because of lack of equipment. Most equipment is privately owned, and it is very expensive to own a boat, and to participate in the events, making the locals less likely to take part.'

Now 28 years old, Teddy was introduced to sailing by his older brother, Samuel, 12 years ago. Teddy got hooked on the sport and has developed into one of the Kenya's best sailors. Last year he launched his campaign for the Olympics, 'Teddy for Rio 2016'.

He currently sails a Laser out of Mombasa Yacht Club, one of the largest yacht clubs in Kenya and while his trophy haul there is impressive, his dream is much bigger. He explained the appeal that sailing brings. 'It's the ability to interact with the forces of nature that gives me the thrill and attracts me to sailing. Propelling the boat using wind and currents in the water, plus the physical aspect of the sport is exciting yet challenging. Racing then lets me use all the knowledge gained over the last 12 years to compete at the very top level. I am very competitive so I am always pushing myself to do better, so the racing part is also interesting for me.'

In March 2014, Teddy represented Kenya at the ISAF Development Symposium in Cape Town, South Africa and took a lot of encouragement from the experience. His club is also trying to help him achieve his dream with the commodore, Chris Soper, even donating his newer boat to help Teddy train and race at the club.

As well as being a qualified Royal Yachting Association Dinghy Instructor, gained after a time spent in the UK from 2008 to 2010, Teddy owns a tour company called Costo Tours and Adventure Activities, which specialises in safaris and day trips along the coast. Unfortunately Teddy is otherwise lacking in home grown financial support.

'Although there is moral support, a lot still is needed financially. Mombasa Yacht Club has supported me financially before in 2012 but since then they have been busy with club development projects so cash has not been easy to spare. The Kenya Yachting Association (KYA) has been helping me with writing me letters to support my application for visas, but I think more could come from the clubs and the KYA on supporting their athletes but hopefully good things will happen in the future.

'Sadly, with not much funds to spare, I have no budget to do any European events, which is a shame. There are a few local events that I plan to go to and these shall be key in my preparations. My cry for sponsorship and support from the sporting authorities has not been heard yet but I am still fighting on. I have come too far to give up now.'

Also, though grants are available from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Teddy is not eligible. 'I am not eligible because they have to be made through the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K). KYA is not registered as a national sport yet by the Kenya National Sports Council and so sailors are not recognised by different sports national authorities and so we miss out on these. This is because the NOC-K will only endorse applications by registered Federations.'



No stranger to top-level competition, Teddy has already represented Kenya in the All African Games in Maputo, Mozambique in 2011. 'After participating in Maputo, I met Allan Julie, a sailing legend from Seychelles, who inspired me as it showed that in Africa we can also work hard and compete at the top level. It was possible then and the proof of that was right in front of my eyes and so the building blocks for the 'Teddy for Rio 2016' campaign were laid there and then, in Mozambique.'

He also travelled to Poland in 2013 to train and race against the best Polish sailors. 'I was training with top Polish coach, Robert Siluk, and he taught me tactics, sail setting, hiking techniques and downwind technique, which I am still trying to improve. I also saw the amount of work and effort sailors had to put into performance sailing. Training very hard every single day in the cold Baltic sea was a tough challenge and even though it was difficult, I loved every single minute I was there.'

'Teddy for Rio 2016' is a bold plan. To sail in the Olympic Games in Rio, Teddy must first qualify Kenya for a place on the starting line. There are several chances to do that, the first being at the ISAF Sailing World Championship, in Santander, Spain in September 2014.

However his first challenge is to actually get a boat and himself to Santander. 'To get to Santander I need to first of all get help with funds, so I am looking for sponsors. So far, I have been getting friends in the sailing community who have been offering me air miles to cover my air travels. Apart from that, I have not made any progress with sponsorship, as companies in Kenya are not responding to my applications.

'For Spain, I am looking at two possibilities. One is to charter a boat, which is going to be expensive, as I do not have any money to pay for that. The other option is to ask my Polish friends to bring one for me if they will be trailing their own boats to Spain. Hopefully that will be a cheaper option.

'To qualify for the Olympics, I need to go professional and sail full time. This means training hard and hiring professional coaching and medical services as well as competing at the highest level to gain experience and to know what it takes to perform at that level.'

While sailing suffers from lack of numbers in Kenya, Teddy believes that it can be a growth sport providing basic administrative infrastructure is put in place. 'ISAF has started training and education people on training methods and structures on how to manage the sport. Apart from that, they are awarding scholarships for athletes from emerging nations who aspire to perform at top-level events such as the world championships and Olympic Games to get training and coaching. Lots of support also needs to come from the government through the ministry of sports through funding and educating people that there are other sports out there for people to enjoy apart from the usual stuff. Making the sports accessible to everyone will also help promote it in the country.

'Kenyans, and Africans in general, I think see sailing as either a rich man's sport or a whites only sport. It may be also because of lack of facilities and equipment for training and racing. Facilities can be a problem as a lot of the clubs are still members' only clubs so not allowing the majority of the people to come and try out and experience the sport. If the clubs and centres would open their doors more to people, then I believe the participation would increase and the sport would grow tremendously. Fear of the water could be another thing because a lot of people don't know how to swim so they are afraid to try and learn how to sail. Last but not least, funding to develop the sport and allow athletes to get proper training and racing experience abroad where all the action is also limits the athletes and sailors to the low levels that are present in the country.

'I was brought up in a modest middle class family and we had our fair share of ups and downs. When the opportunity presented itself, I took it and ran with it. The catchword here is opportunity. I think if Kenyans get presented with the opportunity to participate in the sport then we shall be a force to be reckoned with. We can be a great sailing nation. I think I am proof of this theory.'

To get competition ready by September Teddy is trying to put as much time as he can on the water to improve his boat handling techniques, while out of the water, maintaining a healthy diet and getting in some physical exercise to condition his body for the beating it takes while racing in competitions, are priorities.

Apart from a British settler representing Kenya in 1964 in the Finn class, no Kenyan has sailed in the Olympics. 'As for the natives or citizens, there has been no one who has ever represented Kenya in the Olympics and so my inspiration is to be the first.'

He has a look of steely determination in his eyes that convinces you he will succeed in his goal. 'It would be a dream come true for me to be able to race amongst the legends in the Olympics. It would be my greatest achievement, one that I will always cherish and remember for the rest of my life.'

Teddy can be followed at www.facebook.com/TeddyForRio2016 and can be contacted at teddyndaro@yahoo.com or on +254 700 832 ISAF website
NaiadBakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern Spars

Related Articles

My Road to Rio – Part 5 – Maria Erdi
Erdi booked her spot for Rio 2016 in the Laser Radial at the final opportunity, the European qualification event Erdi booked her spot for Rio 2016 in the Laser Radial at the final opportunity, the European qualification event in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Following nervously back in Balatonfured, Hungary was father Gabor, mother Gabriella and siblings Julia, Anna, Gabriella and Janos.
Posted today at 4:36 pm
My Best Olympic Race – Vasilij Zbogar
Memorable moments won’t always be the golden ones. They can be hitting a personal best, breaking a national record Speak to any athlete and ask them about a moment that defines their career. Whether it happened five days, five months, five years or even fifty years ago the chances are the memory of that moment is clearly engraved in their minds.
Posted on 27 Jun
Rio 2016 - Swiss 49er Grab Final Rio Berth - 49erFX Still Uncertain
It was a day to remember for Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean of Switzerland who claim the final berth for Rio 2016 It was a day to remember for Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean of Switzerland who claim the final berth for the 2016 Olympic games and will be competing in Rio. Sebastien was delighted posting, “Who would have thought so two years ago when I quit my little Laser Radial to jump in this crazy boat that is the 49er!”
Posted on 27 Jun
Two young members of the Team Tilt squad selected for the Rio Olympics
Sebastien and Lucien have been racing the 49er together for two years. They have quickly progressed up the ranks Some very encouraging results over the last few months combined with a place becoming available and the Swiss Olympic ‘Newcomer Rule’ mean that Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean will be heading to Rio this summer to represent their country at the Olympic Games.
Posted on 24 Jun
My Road to Rio - Part 4 - Chilean siblings
Run a Google search of parallel and it gives you the noun, a person or thing that is similar or analogous to another. Run a Google search of parallel and it gives you the noun, a person or thing that is similar or analogous to another. This description could not be more accurate for two Chilean sailing teams who draw distinct similarities in their game of life.
Posted on 22 Jun
Rio 2016 - Australian Sailing's gender imbalance queried in Parliament
An MP has questioned the gender imbalance in the Australian Sailing team for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio The gender imbalance in the Australian Sailing team selected for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro was queried in the Victorian State Parliament on Tuesday. Victoria, Australia, is the host state for the Final of the 2016 World Sailing Cup in December.
Posted on 22 Jun
Australian Gold medalist says bystanders watched armed robbery in Rio
Liesl Tesch recounts being robbed along with coach Sarah Ross on Sunday morning Liesl Tesch, a six time Olympian, along with coach Sarah Ross, was robbed at gunpoint on Sunday morning local time, in Rio de Janeiro in the third incident in a month involving sailors and firearms. 'As we passed the back of the bus stop over the road from our house, two people jumped out from behind/beside the bus stop in front of me.'
Posted on 20 Jun
My Best Olympic Race – Dorian van Rijsselberge
Reaching an accomplishment can take a matter of days, months or even years but many know what it takes. Reaching an accomplishment can take a matter of days, months or even years but many know what it takes. Tying your shoe laces for the first time as a young child is an achievement, playing your first note on a guitar, getting those grades to get into college or delivering a knockout presentation to seal a deal. We’ve all been there.
Posted on 20 Jun
Rio's financial woes before Olympic Games
First it was Zika, and as if that was not big enough of an issue. First it was Zika, and as if that was not big enough of an issue. Then there were the super-bugs that have infected the beaches and also the water courses where Rowing, Triathlon, Sailing and other sports will be held. Before that there was the impeachment of the President, Dilma Rousseff, adding more politics to the equation.
Posted on 19 Jun
Throwback Thursday - Rome 1960, a right Royal regatta
Rome 1960 was the first time ever the Olympic Games was televised around the world Rome 1960 was the first time ever the Olympic Games was televised around the world, arguably the first step on the road to becoming the global mega event we will see in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in just 50 days’ time.
Posted on 17 Jun