Andrea Pontón (COL), Laser Radial Sailor
My name is Andrea Pontón. My friend, Julian Ramírez, and I were able to participate in the APP programme, representing Colombia in the ISAF Youth World Championship 2010 Istanbul, Turkey. We went there by our own so we kind of made fun of that, saying that I was the team leader, getting the lunches and making all the paperwork, and he was the coach.
That year was our last chance to participate in this fabulous championship, because we both turned 18 that year. We were very happy of being part of the group that the ISAF Coach, Kristine Roug, looked after. We were able to learn many new things thanks to her and other coaches that helped us like the Australian laser coach, Kristin, and the USA laser coach, Brad Funk.
This experience was very important for us because it gave us a whole new understanding of what was our love for the sport of sailing and that we really needed to continue training and giving it all we could. It is not just a sporting experience; we were able to make new friends like the guys of South Africa that were very fun or the guys from Singapore that taught us a funny new game.
Also, we shared rooms with people of other nationalities; my roommates were Daniela, from Peru, and Natalia, from Mexico. We had a lot of fun and I know that we will meet again in championships that will come in the future.
Also, we were able to participate in briefings that were made by the APP coach or another person that had great knowledge about the theme; we were capable to learn many new things watching videos of the races and tips that they gave to us.
If you have the opportunity of participating in this great championship you should really do it and even more if you can apply to the APP programme, because you are going to be able to be coached by a great person and sailor, meet new friends, and learn a lot more about sailing and racing.
A lot of thanks to the ISAF and its programme!