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Olympians Hudson and Jim in World Cup action

Six months of solid training will be put to the test when SA’s Olympic sailors Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim take to the water in Palma, Majorca on Monday.

The duo, who represented SA in the London Olympic Games in 2012, will be competing at the ISAF World Cup in Majorca from 29 March ÔÇô 5 April.

ÔÇ£We finished the 2013 season in Qingdao, China in September and since then we focused entirely for six months on training (on the water and in the gym) and on equipment development at our base in South Africa,ÔÇØ explained Hudson (pictured with Jim right) from Majorca over the weekend.

ÔÇ£We have also spent a lot of time training, coaching and working with some of the top young South African sailors, inviting them to join us in training and identifying and developing talents for the future.

ÔÇ£We have also been working with our partners and sponsors on a number of community upliftment projects in South Africa, for example giving motivational talks in schools of the townships surrounding Cape Town. And we have started a supplementary educational programme with one of our sponsors to help Asenathi and other members of our sailing team who did not finish their formal education to bridge the deficit and work towards completing their formal studies in the future,ÔÇØ added Hudson.

ÔÇ£After an extremely busy European event schedule in 2013, we opted to skip the Melbourne and Miami [World Cup] events and focus purely on training and preparations for the 2014 European season.ÔÇØ

Hudson and Jim will now compete in four consecutive events on the European calendar ÔÇô starting on Monday in Palma and then moving on to the Hyeres World Cup in France, Garda Olympic Week in Italy and then the Dutch Olympic Regatta in Holland.

ÔÇ£We are feeling very well-prepared, very fresh and excited to get back into the racing and competition.

ÔÇ£There are four events each year that are effectively the Grand Slam events with the way that the Olympic Sailing Circuit is currently structured ÔÇô they are: Palma World Cup, Hyeres World Cup, the European Championship and the World Championship.

ÔÇ£These are the events where the entries are highest in terms of numbers and quality and they hold the most prestige and carry the most ranking points. Every team wants to do well at these four events because they are a very clear gauge for where you stand in the overall scheme of things as you work towards your bigger picture Olympic goals.

ÔÇ£For us this event and the following three events on this tour will tell us how effective our training and preparations have been over the past six months and if we are moving in the right direction,ÔÇØ added Hudson.

ÔÇ£Our aim for Palma is first of all to make the Gold Fleet cut after the qualifying series. From there we are looking for a top 25 percent overall finish and we are looking to secure top 10 individual race finishes at this stage.ÔÇØ

Also, representing SA in Palma are the 49er duo of Graee Willcox and Andrew Tarboton, as well as Stefano Marcia and Rudolph Holm.

Marcia, who also has hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, is part of the Emerging nations programme (ENP). The ENP is an assistance programme put together by the International Sailing Federation World Championships organisers in Spain.