Twelve athletes for the seventh Perth 2011 Emerging Nations Programme have been confirmed to take part in the final camp in November of this year.
The camp includes training and coaching throughout the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships starting on 3 December. While the athlete’s selection to compete at the World Championships remains at the discretion of their respective Member National Authority, it is expected that they will be endorsed by their MNA to compete for a world title.
The Perth 2011 Emerging Nations Programme was designed to increase the number of participating countries at the ISAF Sailing World Championships with the eventual aim of bringing new nations into the sailing competition at the London Olympics.
Perth 2011 Event Director John Longley says it is hugely satisfying to see the 12 sailors accept the invitation to return to Perth for the final intensive training camp.
'The way these young athletes have developed from raw sailing talent that started this programme back in 2009, into committed and focused international competitors we see today … that has just been tremendous,' Longley said.
'Over the course of seven camps, athletes from across the world have been invited to Perth to take part in the ENP and while only 12 will be attending the seventh camp, we’re also looking forward to seeing sailors from previous camps chase their Olympic dreams at the World Championships in December.'
ENP athletes have had access to some of the best coaching in the world through Belinda Stowell and Arthur Brett. The ability to ‘tap into’ their knowledge and expertise of local conditions could be an advantage for the ENP competitors.
Longley says their success in going forward should shine the light on sailing in their home countries. 'It is great for the sport to be accessible throughout non-traditional sailing areas and for young sailors in those centres to have role models and athletes competing on the big stage to look up to,' Longley said.
'In these sailors they’ve got that and in Perth we will see the culmination of a lot of hard work on behalf of the athletes and coaches involved and just maybe, we might see them realise their Olympic dreams.'
ISAF Events Manager Alistair Fox says the ENP has been a great initiative for sailing and the sport is stronger as a result.
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship Emerging Nations Programme has helped sailors from less experienced sailing nations prepare for Perth 2011 by giving them a chance to get acquainted with the conditions in Perth.
'All of the sailors who have attended the six camps so far have individual goals and aims. Whether it is representing their country for the first time at an ISAF Sailing World Championships such as Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis or to become the first woman to represent their nation at an Olympic Sailing Competition like India’s Rohini Rau is aiming to do. The Emerging Nations Programme has brought them all together and we hope to see the best of them in Perth and going forward to the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.'
While the seventh Perth 2011 camp officially begins 27 November, many of the athletes are expected to arrive in Perth ahead of the camp to further accustom themselves to conditions ahead of the World Championships.
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships commence Saturday 3 December 2011.
Perth 2011 website