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The Hague to become a city of sails in 2021 and 2022

by Daniel Smith - World Sailing 22 Jun 2019 03:13 PDT
2021 Youth Sailing World Championships © Daniel Smith - World Sailing

The Hague, The Netherlands will become a city of sails in 2021 and 2022 with the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships heading to the city, one year ahead of the Sailing World Championships.

World Sailing, the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, the municipality of The Hague and TIG Sports gathered today (Friday 21 June 2019) at the Dutch National Sailing Centre in The Hague to announce the awarding of the Youth Worlds and to sign The Hague 2022 contract.

The Sailing World Championships, held every four-years and the primary Olympic qualification event, and the Youth Worlds, held every year since 1971, will allow The Hague to activate two of World Sailing's flagship events back-to-back.

Alongside today's announcements, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, Olympic gold medallist in windsurfing at London 2012 and Rio 2016, will become the Tournament Director for both events. Internationally renowned and highly respected by his fellow competitors, van Rijsselberghe will work closely with all parties to ensure the athletes' are at the heart of the event.

The Youth Worlds will be held in July 2021 and will allow the Organising Committee to activate and engage the city with sailors on the Olympic pathway. Just one year later in August 2022, The Hague will come alive with the sights and sounds of sails once again with Olympic class racing at the Sailing World Championships. More than 1,000 sailors, racing in over 900 boats from 80 nations will descend upon the city, aiming to book their spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, with a population of 525,000. The authentic yet modern seaport, and the natural environment of The Hague Beach, will offer the perfect base for the 2021 Youth Worlds and the 2022 Sailing World Championships.

Competition for the world's best Olympic class sailors will be held on the North Sea and will provide a stern test for the athletes. Conditions vary within a short period of time ensuring competitors will encounter a true test on the water with varied wind conditions and challenging tidal patterns.

Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing, commented, "We are delighted to be working with the Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, the municipality of The Hague and TIG Sports to deliver two of World Sailing's iconic and historic events.

"The hosting of the 2021 Youth Worlds in The Hague will be the first touch point for the Dutch population, fans of the sport and the media to experience Olympic style racing. The event will also provide the organisers with opportunities to further test competition management, operations and on-site experience ahead of the 2022 World Championships.

"The Hague has an ambitious vision for the Sailing World Championships with the sailors, spectator experience and world-class organisation at the heart of their plans.

"Their bids for both the Youth Worlds and 2022 Sailing World Championships were outstanding. Add this to an experienced organising committee and established partners, who are all committed to raising the bar on previous Sailing World Championships, then the framework for success is there."

Deputy Mayor of The Hague, Richard de Mos, commented, "At this moment we're still in the middle of another big sailing event - Sail at Scheveningen - and we are happy to bring another great sporting event to the sailing capital of North-West Europe.

"We have proven ourselves with events such as Sail at Scheveningen, The Ocean Race and the unique Sailing Innovation Centre in Scheveningen. I myself am not a sailor, but I am very excited about what is going to happen in the Hague; the city by the sea."

Arno van Gerven, Managing Director of Royal Netherlands Watersport Association, said, "It is a unique opportunity for our talented sailors to compete in a Youth Sailing World Championships on the same waters as our top athletes will do a year later.

"The awarding of the Youth Worlds is a big compliment and a reward of our collaboration with The Hague, which is also home to our training facilities. All the hard work that happens behind the scenes on a daily basis - training hard, studying, health programmes - can now be demonstrated to the entire country, on home soil and familiar terrain. Of course we will make it a unique experience for the athletes. Sailing at a Youth World Championships is a once in a lifetime experience. We're going to make a big party out of it."

In addition to the great opportunities it offers the athletes, Van Gerven also sees added value in the combination of the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships and the 2022 Sailing World Championships. "The combination increases the value of the World Championships. Sailors, spectators, partners, our clubs and officials can not only see the best Olympic class sailors for two weeks, but also see the next generation at work. This gives the events even more significance for our sport and for our clubs."

Tournament director, Dorian van Rijsselberghe added, "The Hague, The Royal Netherlands Watersport Association and TIG Sports showed last year with the finish of the Ocean Race in The Hague that they can organize a wonderful international sailing event in the Netherlands. That's why I am very honoured that they asked me to be the Tournament Director of both World Championships.

"I hope to be able to contribute a little to the success of the event and the connection with the athletes. I'm sure this will be no problem in The Hague. The National Top Sailing Centre is the place where our talents work day in day out to be among the best in the world."

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