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Young SA sailors on course at Youth World Championships

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Two young Cape Town sailors are flying the SA flag at the Youth World Championships in the United States.

Cullen Keytel and Sarah Jane Deary are competing in the Laser Radial class in the event which brings together 400 of the finest sailors from 65 countries, who are aged 19 and under.

The event began at Corpus Christi in Texas at the weekend and ends on Saturday. Many sailors who have excelled at these championships, such as Britain’s Ben Ainslie and Brazil’s Robert Scheidt, have gone on to become Olympic champions.

Both Keytel (17) and Deary (18) have been working hard in training with two of SA’s Olympians, Asenathi Jim and Stefano Marcia, and are relishing the opportunity to compete on the international stage.

‘I am very excited and honoured to be sailing for South Africa in youth worlds and have been feeling a bit nervous. I’m not sure what to expect as this will be my biggest international event,’ admitted Deary. ‘I know it’s going to be tough but I’m looking forward to seeing how I do and what experience I gain,’ she added.

‘I’m feeling excited about heading to youth worlds as it’s my second event overseas. I’m also feeling prepared due to the amount of sailing I’ve done over these past few months,’ added Keytel.

Explaining what some of that training has involved, he added: ‘It’s been great. In the past six weeks I have been sailing on average about four times a week with my coach, Stefano. We have varied sessions aimed at improving my all round sailing and that’s been really good. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed having sport science twice a week, which has given me an extra dimension to my fitness and strength in sailing.’

Deary added: ‘We have mostly been doing speed training with rabbit starts and some mini races with starts. I can definitely feel an improvement in my technique.

‘Once I’m there my aim is to achieve new knowledge, skills and tactics from the other competitors. I will focus on getting the best results I can. And I’ll also listen to my coach, Stefano, to get direction from him. I’m also hoping to learn from the other sailors around me and watch what they do.’

Speaking about his aims, Keytel reckoned: ‘I don’t have a clear picture of where I will finish as, since my last international event, I’ve improved drastically and I feel much faster but I’d be content with a top half with some very good races. I’m hoping to learn from the other talented sailors around me and how the top guys manage to maintain consistency.’

The young sailors had a chance to experience Texas conditions as they competed at the US Nationals in Houston before the start of the Youth World Championships.

Making this trip possible are a number of sponsors and supporters including RCYC, Puma, Frontier Foundation, Oceania Powerboat Club, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport-Western Cape, SA Sailing, Wynberg Girls’ High School (where Deary is a student) and SACS (Keytel’s school). A Back a Buddy campaign was also set up with several generous donations helping the duo on their way.

Photo (left to right): Kuttel, coach Marcia and Deary wrapping up training, supplied by SA Sailing


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