One hundred and one sailors across four fleets have completed registration and are fully prepared for racing on Lake Jinniu in Nanjing.
The Nanjing 2014 Opening Ceremony had it all. Ancient and modern China was represented through jaw dropping audacity on an epic scale. Sky dive dancers, a gigantic Olympic ring evolving telescope, dance perfection and a roaring flame were just some of the highlights of a magical night.
A total of 205 nations paraded their flags in front of a packed 60, 000 capacity stadium that was bursting with life, laughter and excitement throughout the night.
Sailors’ Paul de Souza (BAH), Florence Allan (CAY), Joshua Ioane (COK), Omer Yoav (ISR), Odile van Aanholt (NED), Dolores Moreira (URU), Sam Morrell (IVB) and Paige Clarke (ISV) had the honour of carrying their flags in front of thousands.
As a moment of a lifetime, Morrell described the night, “It was incredible. It was pretty amazing when you’re walking with your countries flag and you hear the roar of the stadium. It was just a great experience.
“I met a lot of people whilst waiting and it was really fun to just be there. It’s been great meeting new people. It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime. I think YOG has been great.”
Fellow flag bearer Clarke added, “Everything’s been pretty amazing. The whole feel of it here has been pretty great. It’s completely different just because there are so many sports, so many people, so many countries here – it’s pretty incredible.”
Sitting from the stands Indonesia’s Kirana Wardojo (INA) watched on in amazement, “It was incredibly awesome, ” she said with a glint in her eyes. “The Chinese, how long did they train? It was so cool. You needed a lot of people to do it all. I was amazed and want to see it again.”
Like the Indonesian, fellow sailor and spectator Pedro Correa (BRA) was also gripped by the spectacle, “Woah, it was so cool. My mum was there and she told me ‘Oh I was crying’. It was a proper Olympic Opening Ceremony.”
The Olympic Sailing Venue at Lake Jinniu opened on 13 August with the sailors arriving early to get hold of their supplied Byte CII and Techno 293 equipment. Lake Jinniu has thrown out a mixed bag of conditions in the training days and after honing in their technical skills following equipment distribution the 101 sailors had the chance to test themselves against each other in a practice race on 17 August 2013.
Two race courses will host the 30 boat Byte CII Boys and Girls fleets, the 20 strong Techno 293 Boys pack and the 21 Techno 293 girl’s racers.
On the race areas Henry Marshall (USA) said, “It’s great. It’s light wind which is nice. There are a lot of elements that will make the regatta pretty shifty and puffy which is cool. It’s quite the playground for sailing.”
British racer Hanna Brant concurred, “It’s pretty shifty, you have to keep your head out of the boat quite a lot to watch out for shifts and take them when you need to but it’s good fun and exciting.”
Spirits among the racers are at, on the face of it, an all-time high as they soak in the unique atmosphere that the Youth Olympic Games offers. Staying in the Youth Olympic Village is an experience like no other, but one that has fully been embraced. “It is absolutely amazing, ” said Megan Robertson (RSA). “There are people everywhere trying to help you and our rooms are also the best. The food is okay’ish but the atmosphere is amazing and I’m really enjoying it.”
Bermuda’s Cecilia Wollman added, “It’s really cool. I wish every place had a village like that. It’s so awesome and the food is really cool. It’s cool where we go but sometimes it’s kind of weird, I had rice for breakfast this morning.”
Racing is scheduled to commence at 11:00 local time on 18 August. The competition time allows racing up until 18:00 local time and with close proximity to the race courses, a literal stone’s throw to course A, racing can happen at quite short notice.
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.