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23 August 2010, 02:24 am
First Sailor From Aruba Proud To Join Olympic Family
Youth Olympic Games in Singapore
Nicole van der Velden representing Aruba in the Byte Cll class

Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games

Byte sailor Nicole Van der Velden is writing her own chapter of Olympic history as the first to sail for Aruba since her country became full members of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
Aruba is a small island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, and Nicole is the only sailor in her country's team of four at Singapore 2010.

"To be representing Aruba in the first Youth Olympics ever is an amazing feeling and really cool," said Nicole, who received an IOC universality place to compete here, and made a late switch from windsurfing to compete in the Bytes.

Nicole was born in the Spanish capital, Madrid, but has lived on Aruba for six years.

She is currently in fourth grade at the Colegio Arubano and sails with the Windracers and Sunfish Clubs.

"I've lived in four countries and Aruba is the place I like the most, I really love it," she said.

Windsurfer Roger Jurriens represented Aruba at the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games when different regulations were in force, but ISAF recognition and participation in Singapore could be vital in developing sailing on the island.

"When we get back home, there will be a follow up," said Martin Van der Velden (ARU), who is Nicole's father and coach. "We want to get our sailing school back in motion and the information that Nicole and myself bring back will hopefully spread sailing in Aruba."

"The experience we get will be immense, Nicole will have learnt so much she will be ready for other big events," he said.

Although Aruba only has two Laser craft on the entire island, they are determined to send more sailors to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"Aruba is like a sailing paradise but most of the kids decide they want to windsurf." Van der Velden said.

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