Please select your home edition
Sail Excchange 728x90 New

My Road to Rio – Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson

by Daniel Smith – World Sailing on 8 Jun 2016
Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson - 2016 Rio Olympic Games Pedro Martinez / Sailing Energy / World Sailing
In sailing, a slight lapse of concentration is often the difference between first and tenth place. It’s vital that sailors keep their focus, look ahead and plan their attacks. This is the key to success but it’s all good and well saying that, but how can you train for that?

A sports psychologist? Perhaps a well renowned coach? Or a spot of yoga?

For two South African sailors the answer is simple and it’s the world’s most popular board game, chess.

A game of strategy, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, logic, mathematics and efficiency, the characteristics needed to be a chess grandmaster are incredibly similar to those required to become a great sailor.

It keeps you thinking at least one step ahead of your rival whilst also provoking a rivalry, something the South Africans thrive on.

“We compete in everything,” smiled Hudson. Jim added, “We play a lot of chess against each other so it makes things a lot more competitive.”

Hudson continued, “[Chess] is very good for focusing and concentrating. It’s part of what we do and we have many competitive aspects but you need some good healthy competition amongst yourselves as a team and also amongst the whole South African squad to try and sharpen each other as much as we can.

“Chess is about thinking many steps ahead, about having a good strategy with clever tactics on top of your strategy. It’s about focus and concentration so it’s a natural fit for the mental part of a sailor’s game.

“We also enjoy it. It’s a great way to spend time in airports and wherever else we have time around the world.”

Jim concluded, “We’re playing chess when we’re waiting for planes to arrive or when we’re waiting to sail. Sitting in the sun sometimes and chatting to people waiting to race drains and kills your energy. Chess keeps us more focused.”

Jim and Hudson have been focused on their chess, as well as their sailing, ever since they teamed up for their first regatta, the 2011 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands.

The regatta was the start of their journey to the London 2012 Olympic Games that stemmed from a conversation Hudson had with Jim on the water in Cape Town. Hudson asked Jim what his dream was and Jim answered, “To be an Olympic sailor.”

Jim, originally from a rural Eastern Cape township, had struggled in school and eventually left prior to their first regatta together. Shortly after Jim left school he teamed up with Hudson through the Race Ahead Foundation, set up by 1992 Olympian Dave Hudson, father of Roger.

The Race Ahead Foundation aims to motivate young, talented, hungry sailors from underprivileged backgrounds, giving them the sailing equipment and coaching required to succeed.

Less than one year after Jim and Hudson partnered up, they had qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. They finished 26th out of 27 at London 2012 but their story had only just begun.

Over the Rio 2016 quadrennial they have made significant strides, moving up the rankings and claiming podium finishes along the way. A sharpened up campaign where they’ve focused on items such as concentration and tactical astuteness, all things required in a game of chess, have enabled them to achieve their goals.

On the mental side of the game, Hudson concluded, “If you take care of all the various aspects of preparation such as your equipment, your physical preparation and sailing preparation, and you do a really good job of it, then the mentality falls into place.

“If you can get yourself into that position and then normally, having your mind relaxed is something that falls naturally. If you take care of all the things you can take care of the best you can, then you normally enter an event in a great state of mind.”

The South Africans strong state of mind, exceptional relationship and continued progression has propelled them into a team firmly in contention and a top ten, or even top five finish is certainly not beyond the pair at Rio 2016.

Gul 2019 GAMMA FooterAnyport 2019 Karver - FooterSail Exchange FOOTER Used Sails

Related Articles

Concierge Traveller Spring Series race 2
Continuing the theme of wild, windy conditions Race 2 of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's 2019 Concierge Traveller Spring Series continued the theme of wild, windy conditions, with the return of sub-20-degree temperatures and 20-25 knots!
Posted today at 9:08 am
Dangerous surf conditions along most of NSW coast
Sydney, Macquarie, Hunter, Illawarra, Batemans, Eden boat owners warned Boat owners are advised that dangerous surf conditions are forecast today and tomorrow along the NSW Southern and Central to Mid-North coasts.
Posted today at 8:59 am
Australians prepped and ready for 5.5 Metre Worlds
Heading to Pittwater in little more than four months' time In little more than four months' time, the 5.5 Metre Class World Championship 2020 and its lead-in events will be heading to Pittwater, where the locals are prepped, ready and excited for what lies ahead at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC)
Posted today at 4:54 am
Images from Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 2
Craig (Salty Dingo) Greenhill was on the water again for Day 2 of Hamilton Island Race Week Craig (Salty Dingo) Greenhill was on the water again for Day 2 of Hamilton Island Race Week - here's his take on the day - mostly with some spectacular images shot from a drone that show the Whitsundays at their best.
Posted today at 1:48 am
Warren Jones International Youth Regatta 2020
Expressions of interest closing soon! The Warren Jones International Youth Regatta will be celebrating its' 18th Birthday in 2020! Hosted by the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, 2020's Warren Jones Regatta will be sailed from Monday, 27th through to Friday, 31st January
Posted today at 12:03 am
Hamilton Island Race Week: Tour de Whitsundays
A year ago, we were out chasing two supermaxis as they match raced around Baynham Island This time a year ago the two supermaxis, Wild Oats XI and Black Jack ducked and dived through the shifts and squalls with frequent lead changes.
Posted on 19 Aug
Hamilton Island Race Week day 2
Day two was the classic calm before the storm Trade winds lightened throughout the afternoon of Monday August 19, the morning 10 knot sou'easter fading to 6-7 knots for the some of the Hamilton Island Class cruiser-racers which struggled to the finish line.
Posted on 19 Aug
Finn fleet at Ready Steady Tokyo day 3
Andy Maloney strikes back, but Zsombor Berecz is back in front Zsombor Berecz, from Hungary, is back in front in the Finn fleet at the Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic Test Event in Enoshoma, Japan. He now has a nine point advantage over Giles Scott, from Britain, with Nicholas Heiner another five points behind Scott.
Posted on 19 Aug
Ready Steady Tokyo day 3
Enoshima winds proving difficult to predict As Ready Steady Tokyo - Sailing, the official test event for Tokyo 2020, reaches its mid-way point, it's fair to say that all 353 athletes here have been put through their paces so far.
Posted on 19 Aug
Australian sailors at Ready Steady Tokyo day 3
Aussies chase podium steps in Enoshima, Japan The Australian Sailing Team's slow and steady hunt towards the podium was evident on day three of the Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic Test Event in Enoshima, Japan.
Posted on 19 Aug