Twenty one female Techno 293 sailors will fly their flag at the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China from 16-28 August.
Following a continental qualification period spanning from July 2013 to April 2014 the hard work has been done to get to an event that no sailor has yet to experience. Nanjing 2014 is a unique multi-sport event and will give the young sailors a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy the sport they love, make friendships that will last a lifetime as well as engaging in Cultural and Education Programmes (CEP) focused on the Olympic spirit and Olympic values.
As well competing in great competition the sailors will wear their colours proudly at the Opening Ceremony on 16 August. The Nanjing 2014 Opening Ceremony will highlight youthful characteristics and showcase youth vitality, encompassing songs and dances. Set to be held at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre more than 20,000 spectators will attend and 2014 Techno 293 World Champion Lucie Pianazza (FRA) cannot wait to see the show, "I'm looking forward to all of the organisation of this great event – the Olympic site and the competition but I'm particularly looking forward to the Opening Ceremony which will be wonderful.”
Once the ceremony has concluded the Girls Techno 293 fleet will turn their focus towards racing which will commence at 11:00 local time on Monday 18 August and conclude on 23 August.
Pianazza comes into YOG with excellent form having recently picked up gold at the Techno 293 World Championship in Brest, France.
Pianazza took seven bullets from ten races at the Techno 293 Worlds and has been working hard to get herself ready for China and Lake Jinniu's conditions, "I have prepared myself for the Youth Olympic Games since the selection which took place two months ago. I sail two or three times a week but I also run and I swim to work the endurance.
"The Worlds helped me to best prepare myself for the Games. For the last week before the trip I have tried to have a rest and tried to bring my daily schedule forward because there are six hours of time difference between France and China. Lake Jinniu is a place where I expect light wind. But, like everywhere, we can have strong wind too. I hope we will have all the conditions so that the best competitor can win.”
Russia's Mariam Sekhposyan finished third behind Pianazza at the Worlds and has also been working hard to get ready for Nanjing, "I've been on the water three hours a day every day, for the last four months,” said Sekhposyan. "I haven't been to the gym but I have been running and doing exercises outside.”
Latvia's Ketija Birzule finished middle of the pack at the World and European Championships and has the aim of peaking for Nanjing to achieve her goals, "I've been competing in a lot of competitions and doing some core training and thinking of good results at the Youth Olympic Games. I've been on the water almost every day, sometimes just training and sometimes in a competition. I hope that I beat the ones who I haven't beat in the World Championship but I'm looking forward to competing with all these great racers. I think it's one of the best experiences a sailor can get.”
Birzule finished behind the French and Russian racers at the 2014 Worlds and Euros and will be aiming to keep in touch with them. For Pianazza and Sekhposyan, they recognise the threat each other poses but know there's strength in the fleet that features the best young windsurfers from all around the world. "All of the girls are strong and worthy,” said the Sekhposyan, "But in the under 17 girls I think it will be between the French, Israel, Spanish, Italian… and Russian of course. I'm looking forward to the races and of course meeting all my friends there.”
Pianzza added, "I think the Russian Mariam Sekhposyan who finished third for the world championship and the Israeli Drihan Noy who won the European Championship will be at the top. But there are also the others girls who showed what they could do during the world championship. I think they can be at the head of the group.”
Alongside Pianazza and Sekhposyan the form guide favours Spain's Maria Fatou, Israel's Noy and Italy's Giulia Alagna but there is plenty of exceptional talent across the fleet. Poland's Magdalena Majewska, Argentina's Micaela Lauret, Maria Bazo (PER), Aimee van't Hoff (NED), Hong Kongs Choi Wing Chi and China's Lin Li Wu will all be in contention.
The fleet also features Brigita Viilop (EST), Katya Ida Coelho (IND), Niijima Rina (JPN), Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon (MEX), Coral Headey (NZL), Si Ying Lim (SIN), Duangkamon Phongern (THA), Derin Gumenc (TUR) and Barbara Moya (VEN).
The Opening Ceremony on Saturday 16 August will officially kick off the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The sailing competition begins on 18 August at 11:00 local time and will conclude on 23 August.
The four YOG Sailing events are:
Boy's Windsurfer - Techno 293
Girl's Windsurfer - Techno 293
Boy's One Person Dinghy - Byte CII
Girl's One Persona Dinghy - Byte CII
The YOG Sailing Competition will consist of an opening series and final race. The format will be fleet racing but slalom racing may be run for the Boy's and Girl's Windsurfers if the weather conditions are suitable.