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7 March 2011, 12:36 pm
Kyrgyzstan To Compete At ISAF Worlds For First Time
Sailing On Issyk-Kul Lake
Sailing On Issyk-Kul Lake

Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Kyrgyzstan Sailing

Kyrgyzstan are set to send a sailor to compete at an ISAF Sailing World Championships for the first time.
Ignatev Ilia, who is 18 years old, will sail in the Laser class at Perth 2011 becoming Kyrgyzstan's first athlete to represent the nation in a major international regatta.

Alex Abramov, spokesman for Kyrgyzstan Sailing said, "We are very proud that Kyrgyzstan will have a representative at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.

"We would like Kyrgyzstan to be perceived in the world as a nation that is able to compete with other sailing federations and associations."

Kyrgyzstani is landlocked but sailors train on the picturesque Issyk-Kul Lake in the Tian Shan mountain range in east Kyrgyzstan.

Although it is surrounded by the snow-capped Tian Shan mountain range the lake never freezes and by volume it is one of the largest lakes in the world allowing youth and adult sailors excellent access to the water all year round.

"We are currently developing sailing on the Issyk-Kul Lake and the natural conditions allow us to train on the water for up to nine months per year," added Abramov.

"The wind is very different in the places where there are sailing schools. And our sailors participate in three to four local competitions as well as two or three competitions in Kazakhstan every year as well.

"Last year our sailors participated in regattas in Thailand and China. And so far this year they participated in an international regatta in Doha, Qatar."

Kyrgyzstan are starting to develop sailors that will be able compete on the world stage. And there are plans to send athletes to more international regattas, "We would like our sailors to participate in the European Championships, World Junior Championships and the Olympic Test Event this year," said Abramov.

Kyrgyzstan won't be the only newcomer to the ISAF Sailing World Championships. The Cook Islands are sending entries in the Laser and Laser Radial.

Kazakhstan, Montenegro and Trinidad and Tobago are each sending one entry into the Laser class. And St Lucia will have a representative in the Laser Radial and Palestine has entrants in the Men's RS:X and Men's 470.

Kyrgyzstan joined the ISAF family as an MNA in 2007 and as the sailing community continues to grow throughout the world Perth 2011 has already received entries from 72 nations.

And with age on his side Kyrgyzstan's Ignatev Ilia may be a regular fixture in ISAF events for many years to come.

To view some fantastic images of sailing in Kyrgyzstan click here.

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